Serbian Prime Minister Resigns Over Kosovo, Calls Early Polls | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 08.03.2008
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Serbian Prime Minister Resigns Over Kosovo, Calls Early Polls

Nationalist Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica resigned Saturday, two days after his coalition partners turned down a resolution that aimed to block the country's progress toward European Union membership.

Vojislva Kostunica

Kostunica had taken a hard line over Serbia's integration into the EU

"The government of Serbia has no united policy any more on an important issue related to the future of the country -- Kosovo as a part of Serbia," Kostunica told reporters in Belgrade.

"Such a government could not function any more. This is the end of the government and we should return the mandate to the people," he said.

Anti-Kosovo demonstration in Belgrade

Belgrade has witnessed huge demonstrations against Kosovo independence

Kostunica said he had no more confidence that his coalition partners were "honestly" trying to keep the breakaway province Kosovo Serbian.

He said his cabinet would meet Monday to ask it to dissolve the parliament. Serbia, he said, would "most rationally" hold early parliamentary elections on May 11, together with municipal polls and elections for authorities in Vojvodina, Serbia's northern province.

The outgoing cabinet took over after early elections in January 2007.

At odds over Serbia's EU future

Kostunica's nationalist Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) has split with its coalition partner, the Democratic Party (DS) of the pro-Western President Boris Tadic, over EU rapprochement after Kosovo declared independence on February 17.

Boris Tadic

President Tadic is opposed to Kosovo independence but in favor of Serbia's integration into the EU

The DSS, backed by ultra-nationalist opposition Serbian Radical Party, vowed to stop Serbia's integration into the European Union, following anger over most EU members' recognition of the new state of Kosovo.

While also opposing Kosovo's independence, Tadic and his party maintain that Serbia has no alternative than to continue along its EU path.

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