Serb Parties May Shuffle Cabinet to Avoid Early Elections

Serbia’s largest political parties will probably reach an agreement on shuffling Prime Minister Ivica Dacic’s one-year-old cabinet and avert snap elections, parliament Speaker Nebojsa Stefanovic said.

The lawmakers’ approval is expected “within five or six days,” Stefanovic told Serbian state TV broadcaster RTS today. An agreement on a new cabinet is “more likely” than an early vote, which remains an option, said Stefanovic, a member of the dominant Serbian Progressive Party of former nationalists.

Stefanovic’s party chief, Deputy Premier Aleksandar Vucic, Dacic and Finance and Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic, who leads a party of technocrats, are scheduled to meet today to discuss ministry changes after the cabinet took office on July 27, 2012. Belgrade TV broadcaster B92 said the meeting started at around 4 p.m. Government spokesman Milivoje Mihajlovic could not confirm the report.

The Progressive Party wants Dacic’s Socialists and Dinkic’s party to replace their ministers, as well as swap, divide or merge some portfolios.

Vucic’s party enjoys popular support of 40.9 percent, according to an opinion poll released by pollster Faktor Plus in Belgrade today. The opposition Democratic Party ranked second with 11.8 percent support, followed by the Socialists with 10.6 percent. Dinkic’s party, with 4.6 percent, would not make it past the threshold needed to make it into parliament in an election. The July 18-23 opinion poll was conducted among 1,120 adult citizens with a margin of error of 3 percent.

Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlovic said on July 22 “there is not much trust” in Dinkic and his ministers and that “there must be a staff change,” according to Tanjug state news agency.

The Progressives meet on July 27 for final decisions. Dacic and Dinkic are expected to follow with their party meetings, their press offices said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gordana Filipovic in Belgrade at gfilipovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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