As soon as a part of the Serbian opposition presented its proposals for new electoral conditions with which it will confront the government, during the dialogue that will be held under the auspices of the European parliamentarians, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, rejected two out of three proposals.
Although it seems that everything is already decided, some political experts say that there is currently a strategic positioning of both the government and the opposition in progress, which will eventually be forced to cooperate.
The opposition parties (SSP, DS, PSG and PZP) have prepared a proposal for a platform on negotiations that will take place under the auspices of the European Parliament with the focus on fair and honest elections. One of the conditions is that a ministry be formed to conduct the elections and that the line minister should not from the ranks of political parties.
The second condition is the establishment of parallel editorial bodies that would oversee news programmes aired by public broadcasters, RTS and RTV, and the third requirement is that the elections for different levels of executive powers should be held on separate dates. Another proposal also stipulates the formation of a new body in place of the REM.
Vučić has already rejected the proposals, including that of public broadcasters, saying: “Professionals should run public broadcasters, not political parties. TV stations cannot be run by tycoons who only campaign against the state, vaccinations, etc.”
Regarding the proposal of a Ministry of Elections, the President of Serbia commented:
“The Ministry of Elections was founded by Boris Tadić and Dragan Đilas, who made two such ministries to prove who is a bigger democrat of the two. Dialogue is a conversation of serious people on serious topics,” Vučić concluded.
He did not comment on the proposal to separate elections. For now…
What will the dialogue actually look like and what will the government and the opposition talk about, when everything seems to be already decided before it has even started?
Political analyst Boban Stojanović believes that that is not the case and that it is all about positioning strategy, both for the government and the opposition:
“For now, everything is unofficial. Vučić mocked some of the proposals, while, on the other hand, Dačić stated that all OSCE/ODIHR recommendations would be accepted, which includes a lot of what the opposition demands and all the essential things like media freedom, eliminating pressure on voters, official campaigns, etc. The point is, basically, that some things will really change, and not just cosmetically. It remains to be seen whether the Ministry of Elections will be formed and RTS get parallel editors, although I think that’s not a good solution. However, there will definitely be a number of topics of discussion and the opposition will have to create a lot of pressure to really change something fundamental,” says Stojanović, adding:
“With this internal and external pressure (from the EU), there is an opportunity for Serbia to regain some democratic atmosphere and return politics to political institutions. And the only question is what will be the boundaries of both sides and how much pressure there will be on the opposition and international actors and, most importantly, how to achieve it all, what are the control mechanisms and guarantees. We all know what topics are important, now the only question is how to change the situation in those important areas. These will be the topics of conversation. This is now just ‘killing’ time until the conversations themselves begin.”
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