Top Serb Coalition Party May Seek Early Vote If Cuts Delayed

The largest party in Serbia’s coalition government said it will probably seek early elections if its coalition partners falter on cuts to administration, public spending and support for money-losing companies.

The Serbian Progressive Party, with 65 of 250 seats in parliament, hopes the Cabinet of Socialist Prime Minister Ivica Dacic will stay united on measures presented yesterday to keep the budget gap at 4.7 percent of economic output and lure investments, while selling or phasing out 179 companies with 54,000 workers, said Milenko Dzeletovic, the head of the party’s economic council.

“There won’t be any compromise, even if it means calling early elections,” Dzeletovic told reporters in Belgrade today.

The party of former nationalists, led by deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, is also set to seek elections if the European Union fails to give Serbia a date for the start of membership talks at a June 27-28 EU summit in Brussels, Serbian state newswire Tanjug cited Radomir Nikolic, the party’s top official, as saying. Nikolic is the son of President Tomislav Nikolic.

Serbia and Kosovo -- a province which broke away from Serbia and declared independence in 2008 -- reached an EU-brokered deal on April 19, paving the way to reconciliation after years of conflict.

Serbia and Kosovo had until June 15 to work out power sharing in telecommunications and energy and for progress in clarifying the fate of people missing since a war that ended in 1999. There still aren’t any agreements on telecommunications or electricity.

Dacic and Vucic will meet EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Kosovo’s Premier Hashim Thaci tonight in Brussels for talks on how to implement the April agreement before Ashton informs EU member on progress achieved.

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