Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Wednesday set Dec. 17 as the date for the early parliamentary election, which will be the third vote in the Balkan country in nearly four years.
Local elections will also be held on the same day in several municipalities, including Belgrade, the capital.
The election date came as no surprise as the populist Serbian leader had been campaigning in favour of his ruling Serbian Progressive Party for weeks. However, he has formally stepped down from its helm.
“We are living in times that are difficult for the whole world, in a time of global challenges, wars and conflicts, in a time in which we all must be united in the fight to preserve the vital national and state interests of the Republic of Serbia,” Vucic said after calling the election.
Experts say the vote and an absence of a working parliament, will allow Vucic to buy time and delay decisions over ties with independent and predominantly Albanian Kosovo, which Serbia still sees as its southern province.
Parties that organised several months of weekly protests under the banner ‘Serbia Against Violence’ agreed on October 27 to run a united list of candidates under the same name at the upcoming parliamentary elections and for the simultaneous polls in Belgrade.
The joint list will include the Freedom and Justice Party of former Belgrade mayor Dragan Djilas, the People’s Movement of Serbia, led by Miroslav Aleksic, and the Green-Left Front/Ne Davimo Beograd, which is known for grassroots activism.
It will also include the Srce (The Heart) movement led by Zdravko Ponos, who came second to Vucic at the presidential elections in 2022, the Ecological Uprising, known for leading environmental protests in recent years, the Democratic Party, which led the country before Vucic’s Progressive Party, the liberal, pro-European Movement of Free Citizens and the Zajedno (Together) Party.
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