News

18. May 2017

Who will succeed Vucic as PM - and what that means

Serbia's next prime minister will most likely be either Ivica Dacic or Ana Brnabic, the daily Vecernje Novosti is reporting. Another Belgrade-based newspaper, Danas, however, says that "surprises are not ruled out." Vecernje Novosti say sit learned that PM Aleksandar Vucic - who is due to take over as Serbian president in late May - has narrowed down the list of his possible successors to two names - Dacic, currently his first deputy and foreign minister, and Brnabic, who holds the state administration and local self-government portfolio. However, Dusan Vujovic, minister of finance, could appear as a dark horse, according to the article. Vecernje Novosti quotes "government circles" who said arguments in favor of selecting Brnabic include her "professional expertise, engagement, and good results in her government sector, but also her great loyalty to Vucic although she is not a member of his SNS party." That is why Vucic has great trust in Brnabic and that is why it is no surprise that she is mentioned as his most likely successor, the article continued. Dacic, on the other hand, has good relations with Vucic going for him - and they have been improving ever since his SPS party supported Vucic's presidential bid. Dacic also in the past held the post of prime minister, and has "created good contacts worldwide" serving as foreign minister. The greatest obstacle to selecting either Brnabic or Dacic, however, is the stance of the SNS, who think that the prime minister should come from their ranks. "Still, they have repeatedly said that the final decision is up to Vucic," the newspaper writes. People that Danas spoke to still see Dacic as the leading candidate - but to become "acting prime minister." That means he would be given the job possibly for six months, "until after the German parliamentary elections in September." The daily further said that "the upcoming events" are observed with great attention in "Belgrade's political circles, especially foreign ones." Namely, "it is considered that Vucic's decision on the future prime minister will represent a clear signal of whether he will take a stronger pro-European and pro-Atlantic course, considering that Tomislav Nikolic is no longer an obstacle to that," the article said. According to Danas, if Vucic chooses Brnabic or Zorana Mihajlovic, he will send a clear message that "negotiations with Albanians under the auspices" will continue. In this case, it is also expected that Vucic will continue to keep RS President Milorad Dodik "under control" and that he will not be an obstacle to "the euro-integration of a whole Bosnia-Herzegovina." For that reason, if Dacic takes over not as acting PM but in full capacity, "Western circles will see that as a signal that Vucic continues to keep the Russia door open," writes Danas. "Some sources" told the newspaper that Vucic is set to "surprise everyone" and name a person that is not currently a government member - but would not say whether this could be former Justice Minister Nikola Selakovic. Selecting him, or Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic would represent "a middle solution of sorts" - but "doubts would remain great in Western circles about Vucic's possible u-turn." According to this newspaper, Vucic will immediately after returning from China - which will happen this Thursday - tell his associates who will succeed him at he helm of the government. @b92

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