Politicians and analysts comment on Belgrade election results

Politicians

Serbian President and SNS leader, Aleksandar Vucic said that the election result was just a sign that the people wanted to continue with the process of change that had started four years ago. “It was not easy to reach the finish line, since we had to deal with lies, tricks and a very dirty campaign, which we will talk about more in the coming days. I am sure that, in the coming years, Serbia will give its maximum support to the projects implemented in the city of Belgrade. We will do our best to realize the projects we have discussed, from the construction of the underground to the completion of the first and second construction phases of the Belgrade water project”.

The second placed in the election, the former Mayor of Belgrade and the former leader of the Democratic Party, Dragan Djilas, said that yesterday’s elections were the most irregular election in Belgrade so far. “The election took place in a highly irregular and undemocratic atmosphere, with many anomalies. I am confident that there is a great will to change this government and tomorrow we will appeal to all the people who want to change this state of affairs by 2020”.

Aleksandar Sapic, Mayor of Novi Beograd, who was third-placed in the election 9.1% of votes, said that the atmosphere during the campaign was not good. “We live in a system where you cannot demonstrate what you are capable of doing. This kind of atmosphere is not at all positive. I tried to communicate in a way that was different to other candidates by not promoting hatred and anger and we intend to continue along this path“. Sapic added that the goal of his campaign was “change”. „Winning 9% of the votes is not enough for a change. In any case, we will see what tomorrow brings. Meanwhile, we think that the atmosphere must be changed to become more civilized“, Sapic added.

President of the Democratic Party, Dragan Sutanovac said that the electio results accomplished his coalition  were quite negative. “The bitter truth is that we could not change the government”, Sutanovac said and added that would not ignore his obligations and that, in the coming days, he would discuss the party’s responsibilities with other party members. “Democracy is not possible without the DS (Democratic Party), whether we are talking about the past or the future,” says Sutanovac.

Analysts

Editor-in-Chief of the Danas daily, Draza Petrovic said that the SNS could lose only if it collapsed from the inside. “Other than ‘the celebration of democracy’, to quote Vucic, the Belgrade electionwas tantamount to the showreel of the Japanese horror films. In regard to the future Belgrade Mayor, I would not bet on Sinisa Mali or Goran Vesic. The current president of the Savski Venac municipality, Irena Vujovic is the most likely contender for this position“, Petrovic adds.

Academic Dusan Teodorovic said that Vojislav Seselj was probably the happiest man in Serbia today because his best student from the Radical Party days, Aleksandar Vucic, won the Belgrade elections. “The victory was also achieved thanks to Vucic giving out food parcels with pork paté which packaging had his picture on it or handing out free burgers in Ripanj. They brought people from Novi Sad, Kragujevac and Kraljevo to vote in Belgrade“, Teodorovic adds. He reminds that the turnout in all of the previous elections was about 50%, and with half of the people voting for Vucic, that means that a quarter of the population supports the current regime. „A great responsibility lies on the shoulders of 49% of the Belgrade voters who have not turned out to vote and it is those people who determine the political destiny of this nation“, he added. In his opinion, the candidates who did not pass the legally required threshold of 5%, “on average live much better than winners”. “I think that time has come for new faces. If you have been on a political stage for 15 to 20 years and you only get 2% at the election, you have go away“, Teodorovic concludes. He also thinks that energy generated by 600,000 voters from the presidential election has been destroyed.

Journalist Zoran Panovic said that Vucic was an incendiary who could count on all state resources, while opposition parties did not know how or did not want to make serious choices by forming alliances. “The opposition follows an insane dogma, while the SNS is like an icebreaker with its militants who will go into your homes to get you to vote. In this society, there is a real conflict that will continue to grow. The government does what it does, but it is important that this disproportion of power returns to normal. We’ll see if Dragan Djilas will return to an existing party or create a new one, which would be a catastrophe.”

For Boris Klacar from CeSiD (The Center for Free Election and Democracy), Djilas has “serious political ambitions while the opposition has conducted electoral campaign only among its electoral pool“. „We did get some important information from the Belgrade election. The first is that the SNS has the most profound electoral base, the second is that the SNS has more economic resources than everyone, and the third is that the opposition once again failed to form a single candidate list”.

(N1, Danas, 04. – 05.03.2018)

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