What happened
Serbian President Boris Tadic dissolved parliament Thursday and called an early election in May after the government collapsed over tensions fueled by Kosovo’s declaration of independence. Nationalist Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica’s governing coalition fell apart last week over a split on whether to suspend ties with the European Union over the recognition of Kosovo by several EU members. Kostunica had threatened to resign if the pro-Western Tadic didn’t call elections to let voters decide whether to fight Kosovo’s secession. (Reuters)

What the commentators said
Elections won’t change the fact that Serbia has lost Kosovo for good, said Tamara Zamyatina for Russian news agency RIA Novosti. “An amputated limb cannot grow back.” Serbia has nothing to offer Kosovars any more. “The impoverished republic, whose economy has been destroyed by NATO, has no resources for financial aid to the Kosovo Albanians.” Kostunica and other “radicals” want to turn back time, but “Serbia's future is linked with Europe.”

This day was bound to come, said the International Herald-Tribune in an editorial. “Kosovo has been a symbol of Serbian nationalism since the 14th century,” so its “historic” decision to strike out on its own was bound to cause “a breakdown” in Belgrade. Now Serbia will have to “make its own historic choice—either for a better future as part of the European Union or for isolation, stagnation and decline.”

Serbia will remain paralyzed until it decides between clinging to Kosovo and joining Europe, said the French daily Le Monde. Brussels expects the pro-European forces to win, but nothing is certain until the May 11 vote.

“It is certain that Serbia will soon be a member of the EU, because there is no alternative,” said Bernard Kouchner and Carl Bildt, the foreign ministers of France and Sweden, in the London Times. “This is in tune with the march of history, because Serbia, everyone agrees, is the backbone of the region.”