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Jasmina Lukač, Political Editor At Daily Newspaper Danas

Décor For Unpopular Decisions

Serbian president Aleksandar VučIć expects a frontal conflict with part of the west and considers that unavoidable, and thus the return – not entry – of the Serbian opposition to the national assembly is part of his political strategy, in order to enter this upheaval as united as possible

The fratricidal war raging in Eastern Europe between Russia and Ukraine is creating a completely new political situation in Serbia, but also around most of the world.

In this sense, the National Assembly won’t be a place for creating differing opinions, but rather for the nation to gather – or at least that will be Vučić’s intention.

The viewing figures for broadcasts of parliamentary sessions on the RTS Public Service isn’t of crucial importance in and of itself.

Vučić has already announced his attendance of the parliamentary session that will be dedicated to Kosovo. This means that one important political stage is again relocating to the National Assembly, and with it the spectators, i.e., the citizens.

The tone and acrimony of the debate will depend on the discipline of the parliamentary majority, which comprises Vučić’s party and the party of Ivica Dačić and its minor allies, but also on the readiness of opposition MPs to adapt to the fact that they won’t be giving speeches in front of their supporters at open-air meetings.

The fact that the opposition received three or four deputy speakers among a total of seven, as well as positions as chairs of certain important committees, is a sign of the goodwill of the ruling party – goodwill that hasn’t previously existed in the 10 years since VučIć came to power

Given that the opposition operated – from year’s end 2018 until summer 2022 – beyond the confines of the parliament, on the streets, didn’t prove sufficiently successful and didn’t win them enough support to seriously threaten Vučić’s rule, they will now be more appreciative of what they have. And that is a pulpit with a much stronger reach than opposition street rallies, as well as the associated parliamentary privileges.

The fact that the opposition received three or four deputy speakers among a total of seven, as well as positions as chairs of certain important committees, is a sign of the goodwill of the ruling party – goodwill that hasn’t previously existed in the 10 years since Vučić came to power.

He is ready for the second phase of his reign. Considering that he’s enthroned himself as the undisputed, unparalleled ruler, he will be able to “treat” himself to a government that would also include current opposition representatives. This is particularly important for possible outcomes in the future, in the case that he needs to share responsibility with all parties in making difficult decisions regarding Kosovo, Republika Srpska and sanctions against Russia, or if he needs an unquestionably firm negotiating position on withdrawing from power.

At this juncture, there isn’t a single existing political option or leader in Serbia that it would be unthinkable to imagine becoming a minister in Vučić’s government.

Comment by Zoran Panović

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