Every year, the tabloids announce serious changes in the government and even assume the names of ministers who will “surely” be replaced, but so far there have been no replacements.
The reshuffle of the Serbian government is unlikely only a few months before the parliamentary, provincial and local elections take place. The reshuffle could take place by the year-end only if one of the ministers asks to be replaced or if a government member is involved in a large-scale scandal.
Despite different opinions and disagreements between ministers, it is almost certain that Ana Brnabic will remain in the position of the prime minister for at least three years. When she took the oath on 29th June 2017, part of the public said that she would “survive” until a new government reshuffle or new elections. Although the tabloids have been regularly speculating about serious changes in the Serbian government and even about which of the government ministers would be replaced and which would remain in their position, the truth is that there have been no major changes.
Zorana Mihajlovic and Jadranka Joksimovic, for example, were supposed to be replaced, according to the media, while Nenad Popovic was supposed to be fired a long time ago due to a strong conflict with the Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, but it was clear that all of this was just a storm in a teacup.
The only shock came from the Ministry of Finance, because the Finance Minister Dusan Vujovic decided to withdraw from his position for personal reasons. He was replaced by Sinisa Mali on 29th May 2018.
A source from the Serbian Progressive Party says that only tabloids are talking about the reshuffle and that the reality is something different. If anything, the alleged changes in the government would only strengthen the position of Ana Brnabic, who enjoys the strong support of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
Premier Ana Brnabic has never spoken publicly about her team’s work. She has always consulted with President Aleksandar Vucic on possible problems, but far from the public eye. In the meantime, certain ministers have only “cemented” their positions. These are primarily people who have Vucic’s utmost trust, such as Nebojsa Stefanovic, Aleksandar Vulin and Zorana Mihajlovic, as well as Jadranka Joksimovic, Ivica Dacic and Aleksandar Antic.
About a month ago, Ivica Dacic announced that that the work done by certain ministers from his party (SPS) would be reviewed. Again, according to the tabloids, Minister of Environmental Protection Goran Trivan was supposed to be replaced, but nothing happened. This does not mean that no changes in the ranks of the ministers from SPS are foreseen in the new convocation.
Krstic: Reshuffle unlikely
Political analyst Nebojsa Krstic says that it is theoretically possible for the reshuffle to take place at any time, even a few months before the elections. However, he does believe that the reshuffle at present time is unlikely because it takes time: “Time is needed; some ministers must resign, the resignations must be approved by the National Parliament, new ones must be appointed, the Parliament needs to approve new appointments too and then vote on it. A complicated apparatus must set in motion for a short-term effect. It would be difficult for the Prime Minister to justify such a thing in the eyes of the public,” concludes Krstic.
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