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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Serbian media gloom at Radical's election
Tomislav Nikolic

The news that Tomislav Nikolic, a senior member of Serbia's nationalist Radical Party, was elected to the powerful post of parliamentary speaker spread fast across the country's media outlets.

State-run TV channel RTS carried a live relay of the parliamentary proceedings, while early-morning news stories on Tuesday followed reports by the country's Fonet and Beta news agencies.

Step backwards

Nikolic's appointment - and its likely consequence, new elections - is front-page news in online editions of Serbian newspapers.

Popular tabloid Blic sees Mr Nikolic's appointment as a retrograde step. Its main headline reads: "The only one missing is Sloba", referring to the former Yugoslav president and war crimes suspect Slobodan Milosevic.

The Radical Party's leader, Vojislav Seselj, is awaiting trial on war crimes charges in The Hague.

Blic says a new round of elections is more likely than the emergence of a minority government made up of the Democratic Party of Serbia and the New Serbia party.

A commentary by Blic editor Miroslav Kos is simply headlined: "Defeat".

"Serbia returned to the pre-5 October 2000 days yesterday," the paper says, referring to the fall of Milosevic. It describes the vote as "a complete defeat for a democratic Serbia" and "an insult to those who championed 5 October".

Fresh elections

Sensationalist tabloid Kurir proclaims on its front-page: "Toma [Nikolic] gets parliament, Serbia gets elections".

"The Serbian Radical Party is again in power in Serbia after seven years!", it states, describing new parliamentary elections as "the more likely option".

Independent broadsheet Danas feels that a new majority is emerging in Serbian politics. "The three-month long negotiations within the so-called Democratic Bloc [consisting of the president's Democratic Party and the DSS] on government formation ended in a fiasco this weekend", it says.

"The time is obviously right for a new parliamentary majority to be set up and the deal between the Radicals and Kostunica's Democrats on the candidate for speaker clearly indicates who will form this majority", it concludes.

Another independent broadsheet, Glas javnosti, says on its front-page headline: "Nikolic gets chair, elections more certain".

The Kosovo question

Pro-government daily Politika looks even further ahead, with editor Biljana Mitrinovic not only predicting early elections but forecasting that Kosovo will be the main issue.

"Instead of fighting to preserve Kosovo jointly today, it seems like the democratic parties are preparing to spend the next few years blaming each other over who lost it."

Belgrade's independent Radio B92, which has a strong pro-West, pro-EU editorial policy, held a lengthy combined music and phone-in programme about what its listeners think about Serbia's future following Nikolic's election as speaker.

The station's website carried 151 commentaries in Serbian and 12 in English by 1200 gmt. The Serbian-language comments are generally gloomy, typified by the posting: "We need new elections for a new people".

One listener, signing his comment "Gradjanin" (citizen) has a particularly bleak outlook. "This looks horribly like when the Nazis came into power in Germany in 1933," he says. "We all know what will follow: re-equipping the army and preparations for a new war, during which Kostunica and Nikolic will again flourish weapons and point the finger at 'Serbian lands', while young people will either be killed or become physical and mental invalids."

Some of the English-language comments on the site are by Albanians and say this is why Kosovo can never be part of Serbia again.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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06 Dec 06 |  Europe
Country profile: Serbia
10 Nov 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Serbia
16 Dec 06 |  Country profiles

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