Serbian students renewed their protests on April 18 against the election to the presidency of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, alleging there were major irregularities — including the muzzling of the media, voter intimidation, and bribery.
The first-round election victory on April 2 for the 46-year-old Vucic gives his Serbian Progressive Party control over the entire legislative and governing process.
Some critics have warned that such a concentration of power could push the Balkan country back into the autocracy symbolized by former leader Slobodan Milosevic during his decade in power.
Once an ultra-nationalist, Vucic has solidified his grip on power by reinventing himself as a reformer committed to Serbia’s drive toward European Union membership.
He has strengthened his party’s position through the ballot box, calling and winning two early parliamentary elections since 2014.
Although Vucic once opposed integration with the EU, he is now pledging to prepare the country and its 7.3 million inhabitants for EU accession by 2019.
The protesters, however, allege that Vucic and his Serbian Progressive Party are corrupt and stole the election.
Protests have been staged on a daily basis since the election, except during the Easter weekend.
“Protests will resume from Tuesday and will last, in various ways, until we have achieved a society without fear.”
This is said in a statement sent to the media from “the email address” “protestprotivdiktature2017” (“protest against dictatorship 2017”), Tanjug reported on Monday.
The statement said that participants were actively working on connecting with various social actors, workers, educators, trade unions, individuals and organizations, “everyone who is aware that this will be a longer struggle than a two-week protest, and that it will, in different ways, last until a society is achieved where the common man will not be intimidated by the aggressive and manipulative authorities.”
(Radio Free Europe, INSerbia, 18.04.2017)
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