Should Zimbabwe follow Serbia?

Jonathan Steele, writing in The Guardian, proposes an unlikely model for Zimbabwe:

The best model for Zimbabwe happens to be European. October 2000 in Belgrade is the pattern that Zimbabwe, with luck, will follow. The scenario is uncannily similar. A ruthless strongman loses the first round but gets his election commission to say the opposition did not reach 50% and therefore a runoff is needed. The opposition refuses to take part for fear the ruling party will organise its cheating better the second time; and street protests are held.

Those of us who stood outside the Yugoslavian parliament and watched the police fade away before a bulldozer at the head of an angry crowd smashed into it were not entirely surprised. The police had not gone over to the people, however romantic that might have been. Some sympathised with the protesters, but the switch of loyalties mainly flowed from orders after behind-the-scenes negotiations that Vojislav Kostunica, the opposition candidate, led with Slobodan Milosevic’s security chiefs. They were assured of safety if they changed sides. Milosevic met Kostunica next day and threw in the towel.

Comments from readers who know more about Serbia than I do? (That should be easy.)

Incidentally, Serbs chose a moderate, pro-EU premier yesterday.

So much for moderating my blogging on Zimbabwe.