Dačić "grateful" that Socialists were ousted in 2000

NIŠ -- Commenting on the anniversary of the presidential elections held in 2000, Ivica Dačić says the fact his party was removed from power was "good for it."

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

"I thank them for bringing us down in 2000. I regret that they didn't do it sooner, because we would not have had the opportunity to make so many mistakes in the 1990s and would have been back in power sooner," he said.

During the 1990s, Dačić was an official of the ruling Socialists (SPS) - a party founded and led until his death by Slobodan Milošević. Milošević lost his September 24, 2000 bid to be elected as Yugoslav president, and stepped down after massive demonstrations on October 5.

The Socialists were subsequently also removed from power in Serbia.

Speaking 13 years later, Dačić, who is now the leader of the SPS and Serbia's prime minister, noted on Tuesday in Niš that he "could not say that the new authorities had brought with them progress - on the contrary, they brought too many unfulfilled promises," but noted that the government prior to 2000 "was not ideal - considering that it lost elections."

"All this should be left in the past. The SPS is a new party, and if we cannot change the past, we can influence the present and the future. If we weren't brought down then, perhaps we would never have reformed," he said.

Commenting on the media speculation that the Socialists are "negotiating with Vuk Jeremić" in a bid to bring the former Serbian foreign minister and former president of the UN General Assembly to the party, Dačić said this outcome "would be good," but denied that this was discussed.

"I did not speak with Jeremić, nor did he offer to join the SPS, but I am saying it publicly that the policy he stood for all these years has been much closer to the SPS than the DS, that's why he fared the way he did in the DS. It would be best for him to be a member of the SPS because that's compatible with his politics, but it's his business what he'll decide," Dačić said, and added:

"We supported Jeremić in the past and have a positive opinion about him."