Is Vučić really going to withdraw as SNS party president?

Bojan Klačar, the executive director of the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy (CeSID), says that the announcement of the President of Serbia and the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), Aleksandar Vučić, that he will step down as president of the SNS leadership position in the SNS on May 27, “seems that Vučić has been ready to withdraw from that position since the first day when he announced it, regardless of the fact that he has announced it several times before.”

He points out that it seems to him that Vučić’s plan was serious from the beginning, despite the fact that, as he says, many thought it was a political bluff.

Vučić’s long-term interest is to move away from the obligations as the party president, and there are at least two reasons for that.” First, in this way, he dampens public criticism that he is not the president of all citizens since he did not resign from the position of leader of the Serbian Progressive Party. And secondly, if he resigns, he can devote himself more seriously to state affairs, which would improve his image even among the population that does not usually vote for the SNS or any of the parties of the ruling coalition. “Whether his resignation will happen on May 27 is difficult to predict because the earlier deadlines have been breached,” notes Klačar.

Keeping the ratings and balancing act in the party

“That job is not easy because SNS has had the support of more than 40 percent of voters for ten years and his successor has to maintain those ratings but also balance different intra-party interests. However, this announcement is serious because the establishment of the People’s Movement for the State is a good, efficient and effective way to reduce the risks of his withdrawal because SNS will be an integral part of that movement, and Vučić himself will retain part of his activities in that supra-party movement. This also sends an important message for his voters, yet it allows another person to run the party,” says Klačar.

When asked about potential candidates for Vučić’s successor as party president, Klačar pointed out that “currently it is impossible to answer that question because even the party itself still doesn’t know.”

“We can only talk about the criteria that person must fulfil. The number one is that he or she is Aleksandar Vučić’s close confidante because that would contribute to maintaining the support of those voters who view Vučić as the greatest authority, which is the majority of SNS voters. Also, the candidate must have a tendency towards compromises and the ability to balance within the party in order to avoid factionalism and division, as well as a good or at least a solid reputation in public, especially among the voters of the ruling coalition. This should definitely be a person who is close to Vučić or is in his immediate circle,” concludes Klačar.

(N1, 24.04.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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