Serbia to get new cabinet by Aug. 11; Socialists to be in it

PM-designate Aleksandar Vucic said late Monday he will start talks with the Socialists (SPS) on Tuesday regarding the composition of Serbia's next government.

Source: B92, Vecernje novosti

Speaking to reporters during a news conference in Belgrade, Vucic said he hoped these negotiations would be concluded by Friday.

He added that he expected his Progressives (SNS) to then, on Friday or Saturday, meet and "propose solutions to the National Assembly."

"Within the next ten days parliament will meet for a session that will elect the Serbian government," he told journalists, without going into the composition of his cabinet.

The SNS party Presidency met earlier on Monday, and Vucic said that they discussed "personnel solutions" - and that he received the Presidency's authorization to on Tuesday start negotiating with the electoral list gathered around the SPS - a party led by his first deputy PM in the caretaker government, Ivica Dacic, who also serves as Serbia's foreign minister.

"Because they are the ones to decide which one of them would join the government," Vucic said of the SPS, adding:

"We will finish everything by Friday."

The SNS Presidency will meet again on the same day - or on Saturday - "to define personnel solutions, and likely within the next three days, all these solutions will be taken to parliament," he said, referring to Serbia's National Assembly, that must elect the county's new government.

Vucic also said that his exposé - his new government's program to be presented to the Assembly - was "for the most part, but not quite, finished" - and that he worked hard on the text.

Now, the PM-designate said, he was faced with "cutting down the 450 pages, as it would be impossible to read all that (before the Assembly)."

"We'll see - we may not cut it down," remarked Vucic.

Vucic, who took the helm of the Serbian government in the spring of 2014 and has been heading the caretaker cabinet since Serbia's snap parliamentary election on April 24, also told reporters that he on Monday sent a letter to European officials, presenting the situation in the region, "and (Serbia's) relations with Croatia."

The letter

According to the Serbian government's website, Aeksandar Vucic said his letter to "European officials" expressed his concern over recent developments in the region, and pointed to a naked anti-Serbian policy, which is conducted primarily in Croatia."

Vucic told the reporters that the letter was addressed to "European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Johannes Han and President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz."

He "pointed out that our country did not provoke anyone, but only made it clear that it does not agree with the moves that are related to Branimir Glavas, Miro Baresic and Alojzije Stepinac, and sent letters of protest on the occasion."

These are events that seriously threaten regional stability, the prime minister noted and underlined that he wants European officials to say whether our country has done something wrong and what exactly, in the context of the recent events in the region.

Vucic explained that in his letter he stated "factual events that negatively affect the preservation of peace and political stability in the region."

The letter outlines what our country has been facing in the previous period, "and what it had to put up with."

The PM "pointed out that Croatia is raising monuments to terrorists validly convicted in the EU, it is rehabilitating war criminals and abolishing verdicts for crimes committed during the Second World War and in the recent wars."

At the same time, he said, people who had been validly sentenced in Serbia and then extradited to Croatia to serve their sentences there, have been released on the grounds of an alleged illness, Vucic stated.

"Our obligation is not to agree with the policy of declaring criminals for saints, declaring terrorists for heroes to whom monuments should be erected," Vucic underlined.


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