EUR 1.5 billion in financial aid to buy people’s vote?

If we add up all the money that the Serbian state has given to its citizens in the last two years, and almost always just before the next election round, it amounts to about 1.4 billion euros.

According to some experts, the government has spent so much money in an attempt to buy new votes. Now, there is no money in the budget and Serbia will have to borrow again, most likely from the Chinese, without revealing under what terms and conditions and interest rates.

About 600 million euros were spent on a one-time 100-euro-assistance given to the citizens of Serbia before the June 2020 elections. Then, last year, the state disbursed close to 400 million for a one-time 80-euro payment to all adults, paid in three instalments. Now about 100 million euros will be paid to the Serbian citizens aged 16-29 and about 280 million euros to help pensioners (each would get about 20,000 dinars or 170 euros).

Professor of the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, Danica Popović says that Serbia’s budget is already in deficit and that there is no money for the announced financial assistance to the Serbian citizens who fall under the 16-29 age bracket. That is why, she adds, the state will have to borrow more in its pre-election vote-buying attempt thus plunging the country further into debt.

“To be clear, every government bribes voters, albeit in a less primitive and obvious way than here, but it does. Vučić has now started going after voters and thinks he can buy them with money. Now, where did we get that money from? We don’t have it, the budget is already in deficit and we will have to borrow it. To our great regret, most likely from the Chinese, on terms and conditions that will remain secret. So we won’t know at what interest we borrowed it, or how much it will cost us in the end,” Professor Popović adds.

Of all the financial aid the state has so far given to citizens, the one aimed at 16-29-year-olds, in her opinion, is the most effective.

“I think it is a very good idea for Vučić and we should congratulate the team that came up with it. Imagine a 16-year-old boy getting money in his name for the first time. Such a measure will surely be effective for the party in power, for sure. By doing this, Vučić will ensure a certain number of votes, and this also opens yet another channel for financial machinations. According to the law, this money will be paid into temporary current accounts, which will be closed after a year. Therefore, there is an ideal opportunity to pay the supporters of the ruling party who will probably open accounts under a false name, so that there will be no traces of it in a year’s time,“ warns Professor Popović.

(Nova, 26.01.2022)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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