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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BELGRADE1719 2007-12-21 16:08:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Belgrade
Cable title:  

DATE FOR LOCAL ELECTIONS STILL LINGERS

Tags:   PGOV PREL KV SR 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO8163
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RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBW #1719/01 3551608
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211608Z DEC 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BELGRADE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1957
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 1412
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BELGRADE 001719 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/SCE

E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KV SR
SUBJECT: DATE FOR LOCAL ELECTIONS STILL LINGERS

REFS: A. Belgrade 1657 B. Belgrade 1504 C. Belgrade 1552

Summary
-------



1. (SBU) Although first and second round Presidential elections are
scheduled for January 20, and February 3, 2008, Serbia's Parliament
Speaker has yet to call for local elections. Parliament first must
pass a series of laws before the Speaker can call local elections.
Although some analysts believe holding local elections in
conjunction with a second round of presidential elections would help
the Democratic Party (DS) Presidential candidate Boris Tadic by
bringing more democratic bloc party voters to the polls, the DS has
done little prep work to make this happen, and other parties remain
skeptical. End Summary.

Requirements of the Constitutional Law


--------------------------





2. (SBU) Article 3 of the Constitutional Law states that local
elections are to be announced by the Speaker of Parliament by
December 31, 2007, or no later than 60 days after the amendment of
the laws regulating the territorial organization of Serbia, local
self-administration, local elections, and the status of the capital
city. The Constitutional law also says that elections for the
Vojvodina Provincial Assembly are to be announced by the Speaker of
Parliament by December 31, 2007, or no later than 60 days after the
amendment of the law on territorial organization of Serbia. To date
parliament has yet to pass any of this required legislation.

DS Wants to Pass Required Legislation


--------------------------





3. (SBU) The Democratic Party (DS) wants to pass the required
legislation and move forward with local elections, according to
local media and some DS officials. It is unclear, however, if the
DS will be able to do so since the legislation is still with the
Government for its consideration before it is forwarded on to
Parliament. Parliament Speaker and DS member Oliver Dulic told the
media on December 20 that the constitutional law obligated him to
schedule all elections by the end of the year, but he gave no
indication of when the elections would be held. DS MP, Konstantin
Samafolov told poloff on December 20 that parliament would be
prepared to consider the necessary legislation during the week of
December 24. He speculated, however, that even if the assembly
passed the legislation, local and Vojvodina elections would not
occur until spring 2008. DS MPs Gordana Comic and Srdjan
Milivojevic, however, made no mention of local elections during a
separate meeting with poloff on December 20. Suzana Grubjesic, head
of the G-17 Plus parliamentary caucus and government coalition
partner, told poloff on December 17 that it was unlikely that the
legislation would be passed by the end of the year, and she did not
expect local elections until the spring.

DSS Undecided While Radicals Oppose February Elections


--------------------------



--------------------------





4. (SBU) Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's Democratic Party of
Serbia (DSS) is waiting until its Main Board meets the weekend of
December 22 to discuss next steps on elections, but for now all
options remain on the table. DSS MP Aligrudic told poloff on
December 20 that these issues would only be decided once Kostunica
met with the board, but after DSS decided whether to support Tadic
(septel), the DSS and DS "would then get on with local and
provincial elections." The DSS walked out of parliament on December


21. Local media speculated that the walkout was at least partially
motivated by the possibility that local elections were being
considered and to buy the DSS time to respond. Radical Party (SRS)
leader Tomislav Nikolic told local media on December 20 that if the
DS planned to tie local elections with the second round of the
presidential election, it would be an "imprudent and rotten idea."
According to local media B-92, Nikolic thinks that the DS is afraid
of electoral defeat and wants to increase turn out in a second round
by calling local elections.

Polls in Kosovo?


--------------------------





5. (SBU) Perhaps the least considered and most problematic aspect of
local elections is whether they would be held in Kosovo. The GOS,
via its Coordination Center for Kosovo, worked with UNMIK most
recently to open polling stations in Kosovo during the October 2006
referendum and the January 2007 parliamentary elections. The acting
head of the UN liaison office in Belgrade told poloff December 20
that the GOS had made no inquiries and, in his estimation, was
completely unprepared to arrange local elections in Kosovo by
February 2008.

Comment

BELGRADE 00001719 002 OF 002




--------------------------





6. (SBU) Parliament will need to act quickly if it wishes to
arrange for local elections to be held on February 3, 2008, in
conjunction with a second round vote for President. With
legislation still in the hands of the government, post expects that
only a unified political decision by all coalition partners to move
forward could make February local elections possible. Beyond
weighing the value that simultaneous elections would have on the
outcome in the presidential election, the DS has given little
thought to the impact local elections would have on the Kosovo
decision process, the resulting composition of local governments,
and how Serbia intends to resolve the thorny issue of voting in
Kosovo. End Comment.

MUNTER