Serbia’s Progressives Unveil Names of New Ministers

The Progressives, the biggest party in the new Serbian government, have announced the names of 19 future members of the government.The Serbian Progressive Party has announced, after the main board meeting on Sunday, that the future government will have 17 ministries and 19 officials to run them.

The government, which consists of the Progressives, the Socialists and the United Regions of Serbia, will be headed by Ivica Dacic, the leader of the Socialists and once the right-hand man of Serbia’s former strongman, Slobodan Milosevic.Aleksandar Vucic, the acting head of the Progressives, has been put forward as the defence minister and first deputy prime minister, to be in charge of defence and security and the fight against corruption and crime.

Vucic said that the future government will have “zero tolerance” for corruption and crime and warned all future ministers that this would primarily apply to them.

“Do not be surprised when some of our people are tried in a month or two. We will make an example of our own people. We will not play with the state. We will show that we are all equal and not that some have political protection because they belong to our or any other ruling party,” Vucic noted.

Nikola Selakovic, 29-year old, will be at the helm of the Justice Ministry, in charge of fight against corruption.

The foreign minister would be Ivan Mrkic, former Serbian ambassador in Japan who was also the country’s ambassador in Cyprus under the reign of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic in the 1990s.

The Progressives’ Goran Knezevic will be in charge of agriculture, forestry and water management and Milan Bacevic will be the minister for natural resources, mining and spatial planning.

Bratislav Petkovic, the owner of the Belgrade-based Museum of Cars who is not aligned to any party, will be the minister for culture, information and diaspora.

Most of the ministers come from Serbia’s private Megatrend University, owned by Mica Jovanovic, a high-ranking official of the Socialist Party.

Megatrend’s professor Zorana Mihajlovic will be the minister for energy, development and environmental protection minister while chess player Alisa Maric, who also teaches at Megatrend, will run the Youth and Sport Ministry.

The Socialists’ Zarko Obradovic, another Megatrend professor, who headed the Education Ministry in the previous government will keep the post.

Other Socialists who will enter the new government include: Slavica Djukic Dejanovic as health minister, Milutin Mrkonjic as minister for transport, and Jovan Krkobabic as labour minister.

PM-Designate Ivica Dacic announced that he would also perform the function of the interior minister.

Mladjan Dinkic, the leader of the United Regions of Serbia, URS, will be given the post of the minister of finance and economy.

Velimir Ilic will be the new minister for contruction while URS’s Verica Kalanovic will be the minister for regional development and local government.

Another URS official, Suzana Grubjesic, should be the deputy prime minister for European Integration.

There will be two ministers from the ranks of Serbia’s Bosniaks parties. Rasim Ljajic of the Social-Democratic Party of Serbia will be heading the Ministry for Internal and External Trade while Sulejman Ugljanin, the leader of the Party of Democratic Action of Sandzak, will keep the post of minister without portfolio.

On July 10, leaders of three parties – the Progressives, the Socialists and the United Regions of Serbia, have signed an agreement to form the new government and agreed on its broad goals.

The government is due to be sworn in on Friday.

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