Europe, Kosovo new Serbian premier's priorities
The Serbian Parliament backed new Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic's pro-European government late Monday in a marathon session, dpa reported.
Cvetkovic and his ministers were immediately sworn in.
In his policy statement, Cvetkovic said that his government's priorities are Serbian membership in the European Union but keeping Kosovo as part of Serbia.
He said that Belgrade would seek to improve relations with the United States, after cooling ties in protest of Washington's support for Kosovo's split four months ago from Serbia.
Cvetkovic, 58, was elected two months after the May 11 snap parliamentary poll, which was forced when the cabinet of his predecessor, Vojislav Kostunica, fell in the wake of Kosovo's declaration of independence.
The coalition of Democrats and Socialists averted the prospect of an ultra-nationalist government, which could have turned Serbia away from its pro-European course. The nationalist camp of two parties has 108 seats in opposition.
As all Serbian prime ministers in recent history, Cvetkovic promised to combat the country's deeply rooted corruption and boost economic growth while maintaining economic stability.
The finance minister in the previous government, Cvetkovic now heads the cabinet of 27 members, the largest since Slobodan Milosevic's last government, which ruled until 2000.
The ruling coalition was forged between pro-European President Boris Tadic's Democratic Party (DS) and Milosevic's Socialist Party (SPS), along with several ethnic minority representatives.
The potentially volatile coalition has a razor-thin majority of 127 votes in the 250-seat Parliament. It came through in a vote that followed a 14-hour debate.
Bitter foes during Milosevic's strongman rule of the 1990s and since his fall in 2000, the Democrats and Socialists are expected to issue a declaration of reconciliation within a few days and to round up their partnership on the local level.
Politically and diplomatically, the new authorities face a difficult task of reconciling the aspirations of the majority in Serbia for membership in the European Union, with the hurt over Kosovo's secession, which followed a nod from the West.
Serbia has downgraded diplomatic relations with all of the more than 40 nations including leading Western powers, which have recognized Kosovo since it declared independence in February.
Virtually all major Serbian leaders said they would never recognize Kosovo, viewed by Serbs as their heartland.
Economically, Cvetkovic faces stalled reforms, bloated spending, an overvalued national currency and rising prices, all complicated by endemic corruption.
Prime Minister: Mirko Cvetkovic
First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister: Ivica Dacic
Deputy Premier and Science Minister: Bozidar Djelic
Deputy Premier and Economy Minister: Mladjan Dinkic
Deputy Premier: Jovan Krkobabic
Foreign Minister: Vuk Jeremic
Defense Minister: Dragan Sutanovac
Finance Minister: Diana Dragutinovic
Justice Minister: Snezana Malovic
Agriculture Minister: Sasa Dragin
Energy Minister: Petar Skundric
Infrastructure Minister: Milutin Mrkonjic
Public Administration and Local Government Minister: Milan Markovic
Trade Minister: Slobodan Milosavljevic
Education Minister: Zarko Obradovic
Youth and Sport Minister: Snezana Samardzic Markovic
Health Minister: Tomica Milosavljevic
Telecommunications Minister: Jasna Matic
Labour Minister: Rasim Ljajic
Environment Minister: Oliver Dulic
Culture Minister: Nebojsa Bradic
National Investment Plan Minister: Berica Kalanovic
Kosovo Minister: Goran Bogdanovic
Religion Minister: Bogoljub Sijakovic
Diaspora Minister: Srdjan Sreckovic
Human Rights Minister: Svetozar Ciplic
Minister Without Portfolio: Sulejman Ugljanin