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Serbia’s President Vucic Claims Victory in Snap Elections Amidst Opposition Challenges

by Rahil M
0 comment

President Vucic’s confidence in the SNS’s victory in Belgrade aligns with the party’s strategy.

Serbia’s political arena is abuzz with the recent snap parliamentary elections, where President Aleksandar Vucic and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) are claiming victory. Projections indicate a nearly 47% vote share, reinforcing the SNS’s political dominance since 2012. As the nation undergoes its third election in three years, Belgrade emerges as a focal point, with the opposition aiming to challenge the ruling party’s stronghold in Sunday’s local elections.

The “Serbia must not stop” election list, led by Vucic, is poised to secure 127 seats in the 250-seat National Assembly, marking a potential absolute majority. While Vucic himself wasn’t a candidate, his strategic efforts to ensure a decisive win were evident, flanked by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik.

In Belgrade, however, projections suggest a tighter race, injecting uncertainty into the opposition’s pursuit. The Serbia Against Violence alliance (SPN), born out of mass protests triggered by two shootings in May, is focused on challenging the SNS in the capital. These protests morphed into a broader movement against Vucic and the SNS, accusing them of fostering a culture of violence.

Despite allegations of irregularities and a narrative of a “dirty” electoral process from the opposition, Vucic dismissed these claims as attempts to create chaos. The SNS’s lead underscores its enduring appeal, projecting an image of stability and progress in a politically charged landscape.

The opposition, united under Serbia Against Violence banner, acknowledges the unfolding changes. At post-poll events, figures like former Belgrade mayor Dragan Djilas expressed optimism, emphasizing the desire for a Serbia free from crime and corruption. The focus on Belgrade is crucial, given that nearly one in four Serbian voters reside in the capital, making it a key battleground.

President Vucic’s confidence in the SNS’s victory in Belgrade aligns with the party’s strategy. Former water polo star Aleksandar Sapic, now merged with the Progressives, is expected to play a key role in reclaiming the leadership. The SNS’s political maneuvering, coupled with strategic alliances, positions them as formidable contenders across regions.

Economic challenges, including high inflation reaching 8% in November, form a backdrop to the elections. Vucic’s party, despite facing economic headwinds, maintains its appeal by projecting an image of resilience and commitment to addressing the nation’s issues. The opposition, led by Djilas and others, believes that changes are imminent and necessary for a better Serbia.

Allegations of public resource misuse by the SNS and concerns about a lack of pluralism in Serbia have coloured the election discourse. Election monitors reported irregularities, including voters being transported from Bosnia-Herzegovina to cast ballots in Belgrade. These issues, while raising eyebrows, haven’t significantly dented the ruling party’s trajectory.

The voter turnout, estimated at 59.1%, reflects the nation’s engagement with a complex political landscape. As a candidate for European Union membership, Serbia faces external pressures, notably concerning its relationship with Kosovo. The issue of Kosovo remains a diplomatic challenge, with Serbia steadfastly refusing to recognize Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008.

President Vucic, navigating this intricate geopolitical terrain, is under pressure from both the EU and the US to normalize relations with Kosovo. The region, with a significant population of ethnic Serbs, witnessed cross-border voting as those wanting to cast their ballots had to journey into Serbia. As Serbia awaits the final results and the allocation of parliamentary seats, the elections underscore the delicate balance between continuity and change. The political dynamics, entwined with regional geopolitics and internal reform aspirations, paint a nuanced picture of a nation at a crossroads. The challenges ahead, including economic uncertainties and diplomatic intricacies, will shape Serbia’s trajectory in the coming years.

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