Opposition close to decision to boycott elections in spring – Vucic says he doesn’t care who participates in the election

The election in Serbia will be held in the spring, but voters will probably know in the next few weeks which political parties will participate in them.

After several opposition parties announced an election boycott, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told citizens not to worry, that everyone has the right to boycott and that he did not care who would participate in the election.

Speaking to the Voice of America, the president said the laws passed by the previous government were in place and that he was ready for the electoral roll to be checked.  

A strong democracy requires a strong opposition in parliament, says German Ambassador Thomas Schieb. He welcomes the dialogue between the authorities and the opposition and says that, in principle, a boycott is not a good solution.

“There has been an attempt to move things from the standstill and change the circumstances. In our view, this is an important process and we hope that it will continue,” said Schieb.

Opposition’s People’s Party (NS) leader Vuk Jeremic told the Danas daily that there was no time left to negotiate with the authorities about the elections coming in the spring of 2020, adding that a boycott did not mean running from a fight.

“On the contrary, it is the most honest form of fighting for the benefit of the citizens,” he said.  

He said that it made no sense to talk to the authorities because they have decided not to hold the coming elections under regular conditions and “have accepted the responsibility for all the consequences of that decision”. 

Jeremic also said that Vucic met with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “tone down the negative attitude of the US administration towards the fact that we are living in a dictatorship and that the elections in the spring will be held under irregular conditions”. He added that Vucic offered to sign a comprehensive agreement with Pristina soon which, according to Jeremic, includes mutual recognition.

An MP and the deputy editor-in-chief of Nova Politicka Misao, Djordje Vukadinovic, said that taking part in the elections was, under the given circumstances which are by no means great, probably the least bad option for the opposition” since “the alternatives are even worse”.

“I think that such a snap decision, without the opposition carrying out a deeper analysis beforehand, only benefits Vucic and weakens the opposition’s position. His public image and the way foreign officials see him is such that he is perceived as someone  ‘constructive’ and prone to making deals, while the opposition is seen as ‘adventurous, disunited, and polarized”, Vukadinovic told the Blic daily.

(021.rs, N1, 25.08.2019)





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