Former president leaves Democratic Party

BELGRADE -- Former Serbian President Boris Tadić has left the now opposition Democratic Party (DS), which he led from February 2004 until November 2012.

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

Tadić, who was until now the party's honorary president, has said he decided to leave because of disagreements with the direction in which the Democrats were headed under "the new leadership."

"I made this decision precisely because people who brought it the title of a corruption and scandal-stained party are making their way back to the DS political bloc. The decision is not against members of the Democratic Party, but was made because of them, and I say to them that the country needs a new democratic party," Tadić stated on Thursday.

He added that this new party "would perform its mission of modernization of Serbia and establishment of a lasting peace in the Western Balkans."

However, Tadić has not confirmed that he intended to set up a new party, and said instead that he would make a decision about participating in the upcoming elections soon, adding that he did not meet for months with those mentioned "in the story about a new democratic front."

Tadić also said that the public has "a phrase about yellow thieves" - a reference to the DS party colors - and that he served as president "burdened in such an atmosphere."

"I had no part in that, yet I paid a political price," Tadić said.

The now former honorary president of the DS then noted that "the new leadership" wanted to go to early elections "with the people who have been leading the party (down) towards the election threshold." According to him, the Democrats are headed to the polls "with a negative heritage," which, he said, originates from the time Zoran Živković was the party's deputy leader, and prime minister.

"Today I understand better what DS President Dragan Đilas meant when he said he did not need the support in this election," said Tadić.

During a recent marathon session of the party's main board, Tadić failed to receive the backing as most board members stood by Đilas. Tadić said at the time that he was "not satisfied" with the decision of the party.

President of the DS Political Council Dragoljub Mićunović then urged all members of the Democratic Party, not just the main board, "to remain united."

Tadić, however, soon turned down an invitation sent by Dragan Đilas to help the party's campaign for the local election in Belgrade, and the media started to speculate that Tadić would have "his own ticket" in the polls.