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Cvijetin Milivojevic, Political Scientist

Opposition Again Swallowing Vucic’s “Hooks”

The opposition’s reactive campaign, the erroneous decision to seek elections at all levels, as well as clear support for the ruling party from the EU and other countries, all make the results of these elections predictable

The most important issues in these elections will be those imposed by a man who, according to the Constitution and election laws, not only doesn’t have the right to even run for the position of an MP in the parliament or a local assembly councillor (because he’s already been elected president of the Republic), but who also, according to the Law on Preventing Corruption (chapter: conflict of interest), shouldn’t even “lend” his name to the ruling coalition’s electoral list, let alone whip up support for one party, from his position as president of all citizens. And he is doing all this from the position of President of the Republic, who should, in accordance with the Constitution, reflect state, civil and political unity, and not incite conflict.

It seems at present that his main issues will be pre-election social benefits for various categories of the population – from pensioners to 1.2 million children whose parents are voters, which represents a huge section of the electorate. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if, apart from disqualifying the opposition and heaping praise on himself with the issues of the construction of infrastructure and economic growth, he at one moment turns to his favourite issues: vowing that he will never recognise the independence of Kosovo, whilst simultaneously vowing that he will propel us into the European Union faster than anyone else.

Vučić has covered everything with his own name and likeness, while at all election levels there are no names whatsoever from the ranks of the ruling coalition parties, rather it’s all dubbed “Aleksandar Vučić – Serbia mustn’t stop”

The opposition is once again running a reactive campaign, devoid of initiative, swallowing Vučić’s “hooks” and trying to keep pace with his rhythm, and the duration of the campaign is unusually short. What’s more, the opposition scored an own goal with its demand that Vučić schedule extraordinary parliamentary elections and extraordinary Belgrade elections to occur on the same day, while he also added local elections in more than 60 cities and municipalities, as well as elections for the Assembly of Vojvodina. Vučić has now covered everything with his own name and likeness, while at all election levels there are no names whatsoever from the ranks of the ruling coalition parties, rather it’s all dubbed “Aleksandar Vučić – Serbia mustn’t stop”.

It seems as though Ursula von der Leyen already chose the new/old winner of the elections during her visit to Belgrade. The EU is again “betting” on Vučić in these elections, as if it is still suited more, despite all the objections, by his stabilitocracy, i.e., by the immutability of entrenched government, rather than the risk brought by possible change. This is also being done, either directly or indirectly, by Washington, but also by Beijing and Moscow.

When it comes to the expected result of the Belgrade election, it should be noted that the opposition also won the previous election, but proved incapable of preserving that election victory with a margin of 70,000 votes or of converting that into the constituting of a city government in the capital. If the opposition had insisted on the fulfilling of the April 2022 promise of the leader of the strongest ruling party and the then strongest opposition party that extraordinary Belgrade elections would be called within six to nine months, the holding of those elections would certainly have resulted in a win for the opposition. As things stand, given that Serbia is the only country in the region (though there also isn’t such a case in the EU either!) where local elections, including Belgrade elections, are held on the same day as, or in the shadow of, major parliamentary elections, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Vučić’s party remains in power in some way.

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