Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica offered his resignation today, and the resignation of the entire Serbian Government, because “the Government of Serbia no longer has a united policy on the issue of Kosovo and Metohija.”
“The Government that does not have a united policy can’t function anymore – that is the end of that Government. That means we ought to give the mandate back to the people“, Kostunica said in the Government building, at a press conference.
He said the last session of this Government will be held on Monday, and has suggested that parliamentary elections be held on May 11, which is also the time for local and province elections, and added:
All parties in Serbia, without an exception, have said that Serbia should go into the EU, with one difference – how – with Kosovo or without it.
We are united over Kosovo, but we do not have a united policy on the European and economic perspectives.
Serbian President Boris Tadic addressed the nation soon after, at the Presidency. Among other things, he said:
I respect the position of the Prime Minister, that he is no longer able to lead the Government of the Republic of Serbia, and as soon as I receive the decision of the Government, I shall schedule new elections in accordance with my Constitutional authority.
I disagree that the Government of the Republic of Serbia no longer has a united policy regarding Kosovo as part of Serbia. Of course Kosovo and Metohija is an integral part of our country; it is a Constitutional obligation of the Parliament, Government and the President of the Republic to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia.
My position is that the Government of Serbia does not have a united policy when it comes to the European and economic perspective of Serbia and her citizens.
The citizens of Serbia deserve a better life and economic perspective, only possible within the European Union, and I am also convinced that we shall defend our Kosovo in the best way possible by being a member of that organization.
I expect the Ministers of the Government to continue doing their jobs until the new elections, for the benefit of all citizens of Serbia.
- Democratic Party – DS (Boris Tadic’s party):
- The decision of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica… is in accordance with democratic principles and democratic values. The Democratic Party thinks this is the best solution.
- Serbian Radical Party – SRS – the largest opposition party:
- The decision of Prime Minister Kostunica was expected, especially since he yesterday said that he no longer trusts his coalition partners.
- New Serbia – NS – Coalition with Kostunica:
- The move of the Prime Minister was good and logical.
- G17 Plus – Coalition with Kostunica:
- The move of Prime Minister Kostunica was honorable, democratic, and the only rational one at this moment.
- Socialist Party of Serbia (of former President Slobodan Milosevic), opposition party:
- This decision is not good for Serbia because Serbia will be without its bodies of state and without a Government at the time we should be struggling on the international scene to defend Kosovo and Metohija and help Serbs in the Province.
- Liberal Democratic Party – LDP – opposition party:
- We want to finish the job we started on 5 October 2000 (when Milosevic was removed from power), and we want to take Serbia from Milosevic’s road that Kostunica took Serbia back on, to the road established by the late Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic (Serbia in the EU).
Most Kosovo Serb leaders have expressed concern that Serbia will “waste precious time on elections, at the time when it should be focused on the number one issue – Kosovo and Metohija” (Milan Ivanovic), and that Kosovo “might not be the first on the agenda anymore” ~~ Marko Jaksic, Oliver Ivanovic.
Translated by Alex.