Serbia’s Top Ruling Party Threatens Snap Poll on Cabinet Delay

Serbia’s lawmakers delayed a vote on a revamped cabinet after the prime minister’s party failed to agree on its own list of nominees and prompted its larger ruling partner to threaten early elections.

Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic’s coalition-dominating Progressive Party is pushing to take over the prime minister post from Ivica Dacic and shuffle the cabinet with his Socialist party. The two sides ejected Mladjan Dinkic and his party from the government last month and will begin a debate today on a law to split the Finance and Economy Ministry, which Dinkic led, into two entities to pave the way for a new cabinet.

The parties have agreed to reconstitute the cabinet by the end of August. Dacic did not propose any new names at a meeting on Sunday, and Vucic, whose former nationalist Progressives have a strong lead in opinion polls, said the Socialists needed to act fast to avoid early elections.

“There is a limit where we, on the political scene, can tolerate someone’s arrogance, someone’s insolence,” Vucic told 404 members of his party’s main board on Aug. 25. “You won’t have to wait long for the moment when we have to say enough” to policies that halt Serbia’s progress, he said.

Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlovic told Belgrade newspaper Informer that government shuffle would be incomplete if Vucic didn’t take the prime minister’s post and Dacic should “think about resigning.”

Vucic has tapped former McKinsey & Co. associate Lazar Krstic to become finance minister. He has also invited former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn and one-time Austrian chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer to be advisers. Dacic is expected to present his new prospective members of the government on Friday. He said talks with candidates would be held later this week.

With Serbia’s next election due in 2016, the Progressives lead opinion polls with more than 40 percent support. Vucic says he wants to overhaul the pension system, improve the business environment, reduce unemployment and lure investors.

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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