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Serbian Nationalist Takes Power in Serbia

  • VOA News

Serbia's prime minister-designate, Ivica Dacic, front, looks on during a parliamentary session in Belgrade, July 26, 2012.
Serbia's parliament has voted in a new nationalist-led coalition government headed by Ivica Dacic, the former spokesman for the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

Prime Minister Dacic was sworn in Friday, marking the first time socialists have gained control of the Belgrade government since Milosevic was ousted in 2000 near the end of the Balkan wars. Milosevic, who later died in prison while on trial for war crimes, is widely blamed for instigating those conflicts, which followed the 1991 breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

Dacic, who railed against the West while a part of the Milosevic regime, has since embraced a reformist agenda and says his coalition will continue to pursue membership in the European Union.

He told lawmakers ahead of Friday's vote that he is ready to continue EU-mediated talks with Kosovo, the ethnic-Albanian dominated former Serbian province that declared independence from Belgrade in 2008. But he said Serbia will never recognize Kosovo's independence.

Parliament approved the Dacic cabinet by a 142-72 margin, ending nearly three months of political uncertainty that followed national elections in early May.

Dacic's coalition includes lawmakers from his Socialist Party and ministers from the nationalist Progressive Party of President Tomislav Nikolic, along with several smaller parties.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.