Serbian PM blocks EU pact over Kosovo, despite vote
Belgrade power broker Vojislav Kostunica is shaking the newly elected government over Kosovo.
Serbia's most skillful politician rarely smiles, doesn't socialize, and believes religiously in a special destiny for Serbia. Now, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica is shaking Serbia's newly elected government – over the destiny of Kosovo.
Days after 2.2 million Serbs voted to join Europe by reelecting President Boris Tadic, Mr. Kostunica is playing a high-stakes game that has helped paralyze the government. He has accused the European Union of "jeopardizing the territorial integrity … of Serbia" as it prepares to send a mission to Kosovo, and blocked Mr. Tadic from signing an EU premembership agreement – saying it is a European quid pro quo for Kosovo's independence from Serbia.
The result could be to boost the radical leadership Serbia just voted narrowly against, analysts say – and promote policies that Europeans worry could destabilize the Balkans. Before elections, some analysts felt the government might fall if pro-Russia radical Tomislav Nikolic was elected. Now the way may be paved anyway by a statesman who is showing a talent akin to that of former hard-line Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic – whom he helped oust – for writing Serbia's script from behind the scenes, analysts say.
Just last spring, Kostunica used his fabled power-broking skills to halt a parliamentary takeover by hard-line nationalists. Now, Kosovo Albanians say, he is frightening Europe in a bid to delay independence, something Serbia has done successfully for two years under Kostunica.
Page 1 of 4