Serbian Progressives Tempt Bosniaks Into Govt

Nationalist-led coalition is trying to lure ethnic minorities into the new government, but after Hungarians said no, Bosniaks are still weighing their options.Aleksandar Vucic, acting head of the ruling Progressives, has met with the main leader of Bosniak [Muslim] community in Serbia and offered them a role in the new government.

The government, currently comprising the Progressives, the Socialists and United Regions of Serbia, is expected to take office next week.Sulejman Ugljanin, President of the Party of Democratic Action of Sandzak, a mainly Bosniak region of southwest Serbia, said after the meeting on Tuesday that the future government “intends to honestly deal with the problems and needs of Bosniaks and other minorities in Serbia”.

However, his party, which topped the polls in the Sandzak in the May general election, is yet to decide whether to be part of the next government.

Ugljanin was a minister without portfolio in the previous, Democrat-led administration.

Another Bosniak leader, Rasim Ljajic, who heads the Social Democratic Party of Serbia, SDPS, said that Vucic had made him “a more than fair offer” to join the government.

“The talks with Vucic were sincere and open, and the offer is more than fair on condition that I join the government,” Ljajic said.

Balkan Insight has learned that Ljajic has been offered two senior posts – foreign minister and deputy prime minister.

Ljajic, the outgoing Labour Minister, stated that he would soon conduct talks with the Democrats, as he had run in the May elections as part of the Democrats’ list.

As Bosniaks mull joining the government, ethnic Hungarians have already rejected the idea of joining the coalition.

Istvan Pastor, leader of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, SVM, told Ivica Dacic, the Socialist Prime Minister-designate, on Monday that his party will not sign up.

This came after Serbia’s Constitutional Court declared last week that some provisions of the law on Serbia’s northern province are not in line with the constitution.

Some Vojvodina leaders have criticised the ruling as an infringement of the province’s right to autonomy.

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