In an article titled “Coronavirus: Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic takes advantage of the situation to increase his influence”, French daily Le Figaro said that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic never stopped campaigning and has been using the coronavirus crisis to portray himself as the saviour of the nation, the Beta news agency reported.
Beta quoted Le Figaro as saying that severe measures were introduced in Serbia without consulting the national parliament while Vucic “continued his campaign by managing the crisis and portraying himself as the saviour of the nation”. “That propaganda was used at press conferences which were held almost daily,” it added.
The daily recalled Vucic’s statement early in April that he would board a plane alone and deliver respirators himself. “Personal delivery of respirators, phone calls to patients, expressions of gratitude with tearful eyes to the Chinese “brother” and friends from the United Arab Emirates… Those are all integral parts of the communication system introduced when he (Vucic) came to power – he is the undisputed leader, father of the nation. He is consulted for everything and decides about everything,” Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences (SANU) member Dusan Teodorovic is quoted as saying.
Le Figaro said that Vucic’s tone ranged from concern to threat and added that anyone who dared say that this was a case of abuse of power and brutal political campaign was dismissed or were refused permission to set up a makeshift hospital to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
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The article goes on to say that journalists were excluded from daily press briefings when they started asking unpleasant questions and recalled the threats against Vreme weekly journalist Jovan Gligorijevic and the arrests of Nova.rs reporter Ana Lalic and Tatjana Lazarevic who works for KoSSev, the only independent media outlet in the north of Kosovo.
The Paris daily also reported that people across Serbia were staging Noise Against Dictatorship protests which drew a reaction from young football hooligans who are under the control of the authorities. It said that tension between the political opposition and security forces continued in front of the Serbian parliament which, it added, could be an indication of possible violence especially since the election campaign is intensifying.
“Feeling the growing bitterness, President Vucic has called parliamentary and local elections for June 21 … and has hastily started easing the quarantine measures,” Le Figaro is quoted as saying.
This post is also available in: Italiano