Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

Serbia's Choice

Serbia's upcoming presidential election may decide the country’s political path for decades to come. As Kosovo’s new government moves toward a unilateral declaration of independence, Serbs face a stark choice: retain Kosovo and effectively sever ties with the European Union, or accept the painful reality of Kosovar independence and embrace a new future within the EU.

On January 20, Serbs go to the polls for the first round of a presidential election that may decide the country’s future for decades to come. As Kosovo’s new government moves toward a unilateral declaration of independence, Serbs face a stark choice: retain Kosovo and effectively sever ties with the European Union, or accept the painful reality of Kosovar independence and embrace a new future within the EU.

Serbia’s liberal pro-European president, Boris Tadic, remains the favourite to win, but opinion polls suggest that his lead over Tomislav Nikolic of the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party has narrowed to within the margin of error.

Nikolic, whose party’s leader, Vojislav Seselj, is currently being tried for war crimes in The Hague, has campaigned on an anti-Western, Euro-skeptic, and openly chauvinist platform, exploiting the Kosovo issue at every turn and putting Tadic and other pro-Europeans on the defensive. His argument that Kosovo should remain an integral part of Serbia, and that Russia is a more natural (Slavic) ally for the Serbs than perfidious Europe, resonates strongly in a country traumatized by its recent past.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/fzvkMep;
  1. wei22_FABRICE COFFRINIAFP via Getty Images_WTOredlight Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

    How to Revive the WTO

    Shang-Jin Wei & Xinding Yu

    The World Trade Organization’s appellate body is under threat not from China, but from the United States, which is blocking the appointment of new judges to the panel. Reviving the WTO will require changes to the organization's rules – but killing its dispute-settlement system is not the solution.

    0
  2. ghosh16_Yawar NazirGetty Images_indiakashmirmuslimwoman Yawar Nazir/Getty Images

    The Rape of India’s Soul

    Jayati Ghosh

    India’s rapid descent into xenophobia, violence, and irrationality has an important economic dimension, but it takes politicians to channel these emotions into nationalism, and to embolden the nationalists to commit violence. Now that the BJP has done so, is it able – or willing – to exorcise the many demons it has unleashed?

    10