Serbian bookies put odds on “the Undertaker”

Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images Citizens of Serbia will head to the polls again on Sunday, this time to elect a new parliament (the last one held together less than a year).  It looks to be a close election, with the pro-European Democratic coalition polling just behind the nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS). According to Belgrade’s bookies, ...

595119_080509_nikolic_805335332.jpg
595119_080509_nikolic_805335332.jpg

Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images

Citizens of Serbia will head to the polls again on Sunday, this time to elect a new parliament (the last one held together less than a year). 

It looks to be a close election, with the pro-European Democratic coalition polling just behind the nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS).

Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images

Citizens of Serbia will head to the polls again on Sunday, this time to elect a new parliament (the last one held together less than a year). 

It looks to be a close election, with the pro-European Democratic coalition polling just behind the nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS).

According to Belgrade’s bookies, odds fall in the nationalists’ favor. In the PM race, most people are putting their money on either the current caretaker prime minister, Vojslav Kostunica or Tomislav “the Undertaker” Nikolic (no, not The Undertaker, though Nikolic, whose nickname stems from his former profession as a cemetery overseer, is not much better).


If Sunday’s elections follow the gamblers’ gut, Serbia’s future will not be bright.  Although staunchly opposed to Milosevic back in the 1990s, Prime Minister Kostunica has proved just as power hungry, and just as willing to play on Serbia’s Kosovo myth, as was Milosevic himself. And a Serbia with Nikolic at the helm would be even uglier. Nikolic is adamant that he’s “no Milosevic,” but only because Milosevic wasn’t nationalist enough for his taste. Needless to say, both men oppose European integration as long as most of Europe continues to recognize Kosovo.


Ironically,  a pro-Europe prime minister could only come out of a coalition that includes the leftist parties and the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) — Milosevic’s former party. SPS isn’t quite what it used to be, but its inclusion still shows how weak the pro-Europe forces in Serbia’s politics are.

Lucy Moore is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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