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Archive for Sunday, December 28, 2003

Despite war crimes trial, Milosevic may win seat

December 28, 2003

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— It looks like another rough day for Serbian politics today -- four indicted war criminals are running for parliament.

The elections could result in seats for at least two of them, Slobodan Milosevic and a former associate. They won't be taking those seats, since both are in jail in The Hague, awaiting trial. But their election will deal a prestige blow to U.S. and European hopes of fostering a pro-Western democratic leadership.

Three years after Milosevic was overthrown and a decade of Balkan wars neared their end, Serbians have become disillusioned with democracy, evident from their failure, three times in a row, to get a big enough turnout to elect a president.

Today's election is likely to be just as inconclusive. Polls are predicting the Radical Party will win the most seats in the 250-member parliament, but not enough to form a majority coalition.

The Radical Party's lead candidate is Vojislav Seselj, a former Milosevic associate. Before he was jailed pending trial for alleged war crimes during the Balkan wars, his claims to fame included spitting at the parliament speaker and brandishing a handgun in front of the parliament building.

The Radicals are projected to win 24 percent of the vote, and the Socialists, who are running Milosevic, 8 percent. The closest pro-democracy grouping is G-17 at 21 percent.

Socialist Party of Serbia supporters show pictures of former
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, during last week's final
pre-election rally in Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro.

Socialist Party of Serbia supporters show pictures of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, during last week's final pre-election rally in Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro.

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