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Serbian President Asks Vucic to Form New Government

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic formally named Aleksandar Vucic as prime minister designate, allowing the leader of the Progressive Party, the biggest group in parliament, to take office this month.

Nikolic previously met with other political groups that entered parliament after March 16 early elections and informed parliament that he gave Vucic the mandate to form a cabinet, Nikolic told reporters in Belgrade today. Vucic has invited the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, the biggest ethnic minority party in parliament, and made an offer to the Socialists of outgoing Premier Ivica Dacic, as he seeks broad support for measures to overhaul the economy.

“Serbia is facing huge temptations and big work will start today,” Nikolic told reporters in Belgrade today after meeting with Vucic.

Vucic will seek to persuade the International Monetary Fund to approve a standby agreement by the end of June and take the biggest of the former Yugoslav republics closer to European Union membership. The new administration will have the strongest lock on power by a single party in more than two decades, when Slobodan Milosevic was still in control.

The yield on Serbian 10-year Eurobonds, maturing in 2021, was unchanged at 5.443 percent at 3:34 p.m. in Belgrade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Coalition Agreements

“The Socialists will be part of the new government as well as the Vojvodina Hungarians and we will sign coalition agreements on Saturday,” Vucic said at the same briefing. “I will present to the party’s main board the cabinet and the government will be formed on Sunday.”

The make-up of the new government, which Vucic plans to be sworn in on April 27, will be decided at an April 25 meeting of the Progressives, which control 158 seats in the 250-member parliament.

“We will be changing ministers in the government, and the ministers will have to present the results of their work every six months,” Vucic said. “It’s much easier to do it now because we have absolute majority in parliament.”

Vucic has pledged to consolidate public finances after public debt rose 1.7 percentage points in January and February to 63 percent of gross domestic product and the two-month budget deficit reached 33.4 billion dinars ($399.2 million) against a 183 billion-dinar full-year target, according to Finance Ministry’s data. The government’s cash reserves with the central bank shrank by $500 million since January to $2.8 billion at the end of March, central bank data show.

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