Serbian president nominates Brnabic to serve as PM once again

By Thomson Reuters Aug 27, 2022 | 4:18 AM

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has nominated the outgoing prime minister, Ana Brnabic, to be premier once again and form a government to lead the country through a time of war in Europe, global energy and inflation crises and tensions with Kosovo.

The announcement came more than five months after their party, the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), won most votes in a national election. The formal announcement of results was delayed by voting irregularities at one polling station, preventing parliament from being convened.

Vucic said he had “limitless trust” in Brnabic, 46, who became Serbia’s first female and openly gay premier in 2020. He also said the new government would face a major overhaul in 2024, two years ahead of new elections, but did not elaborate.

The ruling party has 120 seats in the 250-seat parliament so it will have to seek partners to form a government. The Socialists and the List Of Vojvodina Hungarians, both traditional partners of the SNS, have 31 and five deputies respectively.

Brnabic is expected to present the composition of the cabinet and its policy programme to parliament in the coming weeks. One of her main tasks on the world stage will be to balance Serbia’s ambitions to join the European Union, the country’s single biggest trading partner, with pressures to preserve strong ties with Russia and China.

Serbia is almost entirely dependent on Russian gas and has bought weapons from Russia. China is a major investor in Serbia, mainly in infrastructure and mining.

Both Beijing and Moscow support Serbia’s opposition to the independence of Kosovo by blocking U.N. membership for Belgrade’s former southern province.

Although Serbia voted against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine three times at the United Nations, it refused to join sanctions against Moscow.

(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Pravin Char)