Serbian gov't adopts proposal to hold early elections in May
BELGRADE, March 10 (Xinhua) -- The Serbian government Monday adopted a proposal to dismiss parliament and hold early general elections in May.
"With the aim of setting up functional and stable state institutions, we propose that the National Assembly be dissolved, new parliamentary elections be held on May 11, 2008, and a new Serbian government be chosen in accordance with the will of the people," said the proposal to be forwarded to the Serbian President Boris Tadic.
The proposal said that the government has determined "it no longer has a united and common policy" on defending Serbia's sovereignty over Kosovo, confirming its collapse announced by Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica Saturday.
The Serbian government collapsed less than a month after Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority unilaterally proclaimed its independence from Serbia on Feb. 17, despite strong opposition from Belgrade.
Angered by most EU countries' recognition of Kosovo as a new state, Kostunica, backed by the ultra-nationalist opposition Serbian Radical Party, threatened to stop Serbia's further integration into the European Union until the 27-member bloc rejects Kosovo's independence.
But pro-western President Tadic insisted that Belgrade has no alternative than to try to join the bloc as soon as possible, despite the disagreements over Kosovo.
Kostunica said Saturday early elections should be announced for May 11, as the Serbian government no longer has a united stance regarding its policy toward Kosovo.
The government, headed by Kostunica, was assembled and approved on May 14 last year after Jan. 21 parliamentary elections. It is composed of the pro-West Democratic Party of Tadic, the Democratic Party of Serbia headed by Kostunica, New Serbia and the pro-marketG17 Plus party.
Tadic said Saturday that he agrees with the prime minister's position that keeping the government coalition as a whole is no longer possible, adding that he would announce the elections as soon as the government formally passes its decision.
Both local and provincial elections in Serbia were previously scheduled for May 11.
According to the constitution, early elections must be held within 60 days of the announcement, which means that Tadic cannot call the elections before March 12.
In order for the elections to be held on May 11, they must be announced before March 27 since the law for electing national representatives stipulates that no more than 45 days are allowed in between the day of the announcement and that on which elections are held.