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By organizing the conference “Information Technologies and Political Participation”, the National Democratic Institute, the Democratic Party of Socialist of Montenegro and the Olof Palme International Center brought together representatives of the social democratic parties from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) to share their knowledge and experience on broader ICT issues and more innovative concepts for the first time. The organizers wanted to encourage political parties to use the advantages of ICT to increase citizen participation in their policy-making as well as to foster them to develop their own ICT-related policies. The conference brought forward several new perspectives.

– With this conference, NDI has reminded us that we should not look elsewhere for resources, knowledge and experience as these could be found within the region of CEE. Successful models and practices are more likely to be effectively implemented if coming from countries with similar context and mentality, said Ms. Milica Sosic, a member of the Press Team in the Democratic Party from Serbia.

One example was a huge interest shown for a presentation made by Ms. Edlira Cepani, National Coordinator of the Women’s Network “Equality in Decision Making”, Albania. Several participants said that they would replicate the model of the web platform she presented. Commentary by Danilo Milic, Program Coordinator Belgrad

The voter turnout was very low at only about 46 percent. Analysts interpret this as a clear message that voters are not satisfied with the any of the alternatives and they see this as one of the reasons for Tomislav Nikolic’s victory.

Tadic, who is the president of the Democratic Party, was identified as the leader of the governing coalition during four years of financial crisis and was “punished” for the decline of the Serbian economy. Several intellectuals during the campaign came out with statements that Tadic had abused his position and stepped away from core democratic values. Some recommended voters not to vote for him even though his opponent was formerly known as a hard line nationalist and the leader of a far right Radical Party.

However, these are not only reasons of Tadic’s defeat. The Democratic Party and their leader did not manage to fulfil most of the promises given at the beginning of their mandate in 2008 although several of those were not in direct connection with the economy.  A boring, unclear and often negative election campaign by the Democratic Party is also seen as one of the reasons for the election result.

Tomislav Nikolic clearly stated that his victory will not change the direction of Serbia and that EU accession will remain a priority. Nikolic, who left the Radical Party and their rhetoric and formed a new party three and a half years ago, is now in position to prove his political change in practice and the first test will be related with the new government of Serbia.

His party got highest number of MPs on the elections held on May 6th but it is likely that they will not be in position to form a government. It is most likely that the Democratic Party will form a parliamentary majority with the Socialist party and few smaller parties. The future relations between the government and the president will determine the pace of reforms and economic recovery in the country. It is not easy to predict if they will follow their (very similar) programmes and work together or if they will use the authorities they have in order to block the work of the other side whenever possible.

 

Published: 2012-10-23

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