Parliament elects Serbia's reshuffled cabinet

The Serbian parliament concluded several days of debate late on Monday and elected the country's reshuffled government.

Source: B92, Tanjug

134 MPs voted in favor, 65 were against, while 51 abstained.

Beside the members of the ruling coalition, the SPO-DHSS group, as well as Rich Serbia MP Zaharije Trnavčević and independent MP Sanja Jeftić-Branković also voted in favor of the proposed cabinet.

The ministers took their oath of office, the text of which was as follows:

"I swear my allegiance to the Republic of Serbia, and with my honor I undertake the obligation to respect the Constitution and the law, to perform the duty of a member of the government conscientiously, responsibly and with dedication, and be dedicated to the preservation of Kosovo and Metohija within the Republic of Serbia."

Three days of sharp debate preceded the vote late on Monday. The government now has 18 ministries, one more than before, since finance and economy are now separate portfolios. One more minister without portfolio is also present in the new cabinet, which now has 22 members.

The new cabinet members include: Nebojša Rodić (SNS; defense), Lazar Krstić (nonpartisan, finance), Saša Radulović (nonpartisan, economy), Dragan Glamočić (nonpartisan, agriculture), Aleksandar Antić (SPS, transport), Igor Mirović (SNS, regional development and local self-government), Tomislav Jovanović (nonpartisan, education, science, and technological development), Ivan Tasovac (nonpartisan, culture), Vanja Udovičić (nonpartisan, sport and youth), Branko Ružić (SPS, without portfolio in charge of EU integration), Aleksandar Vulin (SNS, without portfolio in charge of Kosovo and Metohija).

The new cabinet also includes Ivica Dačić (SPS, PM, interior affairs), Aleksandar Vučić (SNS, first deputy PM), Jovan Krkobabić (PUPS, deputy PM, labor and social policy), Rasim Ljajić (SDPS, deputy PM, trade and telecommunications), Nikola Selaković (SNS, justice), Zorana Mihajlović (SNS, energy), Milan Bačević (SNS, mining), Ivan Mrkić (nonpartisan, foreign affairs), Velimir Ilić (NS, construction and urbanism), Slavica Đukić-Dejanović (SPS, health), and Sulejman Ugljanin (SDA, without portfolio in charge of the Office for Sustainable Development).

The debate

The third day of the parliamentary session on the appointment of new ministers was dominated by a heated debate between MPs of the ruling coalition, who back the government reshuffle, and the opposition calling for early elections.

During the debate, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić replied to the opposition's criticism numerous times.

Dačić said to the United Regions of Serbia (URS), which had been a part of the ruling coalition prior to the reshuffle, that the government they were a part of would certainly not have lasted, underlining that is the reason why he considers the ousting of URS ministers from the government to be one of his best moves in the reshuffle.

“I proposed that you be part of the coalition government, and now I have proposed that you go out, that is politics,” Dačić said.

Retorting to the opposition's criticism that the government reshuffle took too long, First Deputy Prime Minister Vucic voiced confidence that citizens will be able to assess the government's results.

As of Monday, the former ministers from the URS, Mlađan Dinkić, Verica Kalanović and Suzana Grubješić, will continue to serve as MPs, as they took the oath of office before the parliament earlier in the day.

MP of the opposition Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) Marko Jakšić was admonished, after qualifying the government as treacherous because of the policy it is pursuing in Kosovo and Metohija.

In addition to underlining several times that the government did not do much to improve the living standard since it came into power a year ago, the opposition also insisted that the economic recovery should be realized along with the EU integration, and almost all MPs welcomed the appointment of Tanja Miščević as the lead negotiator for Serbia's EU accession talks.


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