2020 will be a dynamic political year for Serbia with many unknowns. The crisis caused by protests, withdrawal of opposition from parliament and election boycott – all this will continues in the coming year. And then there is the Kosovo issue too.
As for 2020, the election year, the assumption is that political tensions will only intensify in the coming period, and at least for the time being, it is impossible to predict whether a potential political crisis will erupt, writes Deutsche Welle (DW).
The regular parliamentary elections would be the first major test in this regard, which are likely to take place in late April or early May next year. Judging by the current so-called dialogue between the authorities and the opposition, there isn’t too much hope that the current gap between the authorities and the opposition could be overcome.
The authorities agreed in principle to certain concessions as regards election conditions, but afterwards continued to act as before: an election campaign in full swing and not allowing the opposition to appear in the media.
The new dynamics of the dialogue on Kosovo
In the next year, we can expect the continuation of the dialogue on Kosovo as soon as the government in Pristina is formed, Bojan Klacar from CeSID notes, but also states that the dialogue will have a completely different dynamic.
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“There has been a serious change of government in Pristina and it is evident that they are trying to present themselves as completely different from the previous ones. At present, their position is quite radical, demanding that Aleksandar Vucic not participate in the negotiations. That is unlikely to happen, but we can expect more solid negotiators in Pristina than it before,” Klacar points out.
After the breakdown of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, an election was held in Kosovo, and now the question is as to how far the upcoming elections in Serbia might delay that dialogue again.
Buying social peace
Social tensions and social discontent were also heavily present during the outgoing year, but they did not pose a great threat to the government. The government has been able to solve some of the strikes and work stoppages relatively quickly and, according to Klacar, there is no indication that social tensions will increase during 2020.
“There will certainly be some social tensions, but I do not expect that they will significantly affect political life. Opinion polls show no deep social discontent. Few people trust the trade unions, and they are not particularly critical of the government. Finally, Serbia, unfortunately, has a rapidly ageing society, with an average age of Serbian citizen being 43. In order to stage serious and long-lasting protests, you need youth and a lot of energy,” Klacar adds.
“Wage increases have been promised in some segments that are vulnerable such as healthcare and education, and by doing so, I think that the authorities have prevented potential strikes. There are, however, some indications that there will still be some strikes, but I think they will happen because trade unions want to take advantage of the situation and get small benefits before the elections,” says political analyst Boban Stojanovic.
All in all, Deutsche Welle’s interlocutors predict that 2020 will be a year of deepening political crisis.
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