The return of voters to the polls in a new round of elections will mean the return of non-sns voters. This brings uncertainty to the results of the belgrade elections and, to a certain extent, the presidential elections. Specifically, voters in Belgrade represent a significant part of those who’ve abstained to date, which could lead to shaking the sns government in Belgrade and, more importantly, create a higher probability of the presidential elections requiring two rounds.
The 2020 parliamentary elections carried the epithet of preelections for the presidential elections, parliamentary elections and elections for the City of Belgrade to be held in 2022. This unusual situation is part of the shadow that’s fallen over the legitimacy of last year’s elections: the lowest turnout in the history of parliamentary elections (48.93%), the opposition boycott and the COVID-19 pandemic. These facts represent the point of embarkation for 2022 elections.
The turnout was eight per cent lower in 2020 than in the 2016 parliamentary elections, and 12% lower than the average turnout during the period from 2003 to 2012. The cause of this reduction is being sought in the pandemic and opposition boycott. According to a survey conducted by CESID (April 2020), approximately 10% of citizens felt fear and other negative emotions due to the pandemic. The same research shows that almost two-thirds of citizens were more satisfied than dissatisfied with the state’s preventative measures. In other words, SNS, as the mainstay of the government, didn’t make a catastrophic mistake during the pandemic that could have led to it being abandoned by the electorate. Along with the fear of COVID-19, the opposition boycott deepened absenteeism among citizens. On the other hand, the number of SNS voters increased by about 130,000 compared to 2016, while at the same time the number of voters opting for SPS fell by about 80,000. SNS completed its colonisation and consolidation of the centre-right ideological spectrum in 2020, with which the system with a dominant party has been strengthened in Serbia, and as a rule this increases the number of those abstaining from voting and strengthens apathetic preferences of voters, which can be boiled to “things will stay the same regardless of how I vote”.
Sns completed its colonisation and consolidation of the centre-right ideological spectrum in 2020, with which the system with a dominant party has been strengthened in serbia, and as a rule this increases the number of those abstaining from voting and strengthens apathetic preferences of voters, which can be boiled to “things will stay the same regardless of how I vote”.
How will this trend impact on the 2022 elections? A view of the management of the crisis during the pandemic that’s positive to a certain extent, as well as the implementation of mass vaccination, testifies to the claim that fearful emotions won’t lead to a reduction in the turnout in 2022. Moreover, if we take into account that the highest turnouts came during the polarised system (2000-2012), a question arises as to whether the opposition will close ranks in the next 18 months, which would motivate abstainers to return to the ballot boxes. This would see the turnout return to 55% (the average turnout from 2012 to 2016). The biggest question mark hangs over Belgrade voters, who could increase the overall turnout if they vote en masse. The number of SNS voters will not change significantly, because that part of the ideological spectrum has been consolidated, but a higher turnout will certainly impact on the number of SNS mandates in the National Assembly. In that sense, SNS will probably return to a result of 48% of votes, which still wouldn’t change much in the structure of relations in the Assembly.
The return of voters to the polls is the return of non-SNS voters. There is uncertainty when it comes to the Belgrade elections and, to a certain extent, presidential elections. A significant part of those who’ve been abstaining from voting are among voters in Belgrade; if the city turnout reaches an average of 55% (2008-2018), it can be expected that the SNS government in Belgrade will be shaken and, more importantly, that presidential elections will more likely require two rounds. It is a thankless task to discuss the possible outcome of presidential elections until we see the most serious opposition candidate to take on Aleksandar Vučić. There are no such candidates for now.