Serbian Government May Collapse Over Kosovo

Crisis looms only days after presidential vote
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2008 9:40 AM CST
An ethnic Kosovo Serb woman casts her vote at a polling station for Serbia's president. The government looked set to fall only days after a presidential election.   (Getty Images (by Event) Individuals)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Serbia's coalition government approached collapse today, only days after voters gave a new mandate to pro-Western president Boris Tadic. His reelection has led to a face-off with his PM, who opposes his intention to sign a new EU trade agreement. The PM sees EU overtures as a ploy to trick Serbs into letting Kosovo secede. One minister told the AP that the government could collapse within 48 hours if Tadic signs as expected Thursday.

After Tadic's victory, the EU instantly offered a new agreement on trade and travel links, which PM Vojislav Kostunica considers "a deception aimed at getting Serbia effectively to sign its agreement to Kosovo independence." Whether the PM can cooperate remains an open question; both oppose Kosovo independence, but Tadic has ruled out using force to stop it.