Published 16th April, 2012
The Democratic Party or DS was founded in 1990 as an opposition party under the leadership of Dragoljub Mićunović. The party describes itself as centre to centre-left and believes in social democracy, social liberalism and Pro-Europeanism.
In the 1992 federal election the party won six seats but improved on that in 1993 when it won 29 seats in the Serbian Assembly elections. In December 1993 the party joined the government of Slobodan Milošević but by 1996 they had reverted to the opposition. In January 1994 Mićunović was succeeded by Zoran Đinđić.
In 1996 the party joined with the Democratic Party of Serbia in the ‘Together’ alliance and along with two other parties in the alliance they won 22 seats in the federal elections. The alliance collapsed in 1997 and the DS boycotted the Serbian Assembly elections in the September.
In 1998 the DS joined the new Alliance for Change which was part of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) in opposition to Slobodan Milošević. The DOS won the 2000 election and the DS took 45 seats in the Serbian parliament. Zoran Đinđić was made the new prime minister of the Serbian government in January 2001.
Đinđić was assassinated in 2003 and subsequently Boris Tadić took over the leadership. In the 2003 election the party won 23 of the 250 seats in the parliament and Boris Tadić won the presidential election in June 2004 with 53.5% of the vote.
In 2007 the result was anything but clear with the Serbian Radical Party becoming the largest party in the parliament. However, the Democratic Party came second with 64 of the 250 seats. In 2008 the government of Vojislav Koštunica collapsed and fresh elections were held.
In the new election of 2008 the DS entered the election at the head of a new alliance called ‘For a European Serbia’ (ZES). The ZES won 102 seats and with the Socialists and a number of smaller parties they formed a new government.
In the 2012 general election the party formed a new alliance on 15th March 2012 which it is calling ‘Choice for a Better Life’ and which consists of six parties including the DS.
The Democratic Party is affiliated to the Socialist International and is also an associate member of the Party of European Socialists.