Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic confirmed this week that urgent elections, both parliamentary and local, will be held on the 17th of December.
Media reports said that Vucic had used the opposition demand for elections to his own advantage in a bid to secure a better result for the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS).
“Vucic knows the SNS is polling much worse in Belgrade than in general. The opposition at first asked only for elections in Belgrade, where they can win, but after their protests failed, they demanded parliamentary elections as well. This suits Vucic, as now he can join the campaign and cover the issues in Belgrade with a parliamentary campaign,” political analyst Cvijetin Milivojevic told reporters.
Milivojevic said the opposition party had a solid chance at victory in the capital Belgrade, but added that a recent violent attack on police in northern Kosovo was unlikely to do much damage to Vucic’s campaign. He cited global unrest, especially between Israel and Gaza, as an example.
“He has also avoided bigger problems with his moves toward the US… and he had all the right answers in the CNN interview,” Milivojevic added.
In an interview last week, Vucicd denied that he was building up Serbian forces along the Kosovo border. He insisted that Serbia had no interest in further escalation of existing tensions with Kosovo.
“The opposition calls for [EU] sanctions on him and not Serbia [over the Kosovo violence] is a wrong move. The voters cannot understand the subtle difference, in a situation where Vucic is presented as [the face of the state of] Serbia,” Milivojevic concluded.
In September earlier this year, several opposition parties submitted a request to Vucic to call urgent elections for parliament, and for the assembly of Belgrade. The call was made following months of protests under the slogan “Serbia against violence” in response to mass shootings in May.
The ruling majority, led by the SNS, rejected most of the demands submitted by the opposition. The opposition responded by saying that the only way to fulfill the demands of the protesters was to oust the government in elections.
Even so, regular local elections are not due until June 2024. Other pundits expected elections to take place earlier this year, including those in Belgrade and parliament, after Vucic announced in 2022 that the new government would only last two years.
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