The Serbs vote in the shadow of Belgrade’s strongman

About 6.5 million Serbian voters are called to the polls on Sunday to elect their parliament. The opposition demanded a boycott of the vote and President Aleksandar Vucic’s ruling party preferred.

The Serbs vote on Sunday, June 21, in legislative elections that should bolster President Aleksandar Vucic’s support. Enhanced by the krona virus crisis, the political power group in Serbia is a favorite, while the main opposition parties boycott the vote.

These first national elections in Europe since the Covid-19 pandemic take place in the presidential shadow. Aleksander Vucic does not show up, but his name appears on the ballot as head of the Serbian Progress Party (SNS, center right) in power for eight years.

Participation at noon is estimated at 18% according to a non-governmental organization

Opposition parties boycotting the parliamentary elections declare that free elections are impossible because of the distortion of the media and the democratic landscape.

But the opposition, which is nothing closer than the deterrence of Aleksandar Vucic, is undermined by the differences. If the main parties voted out, about twenty small parties went to battle.

According to the latest surveys, SNS should win more than 50% of the vote. The foremost unknown is still the rate of participation, between fears linked to the corona virus and the ironic calls from boycott supporters asking voters to “keep their social distance to the polling stations”.

Kl. At 12.00 (10.00 GMT), the independent NGO CRTA was estimated to be approximately 18%, a level similar to the 2016 legislative elections.

Almost impossible political change

The Constitution gives the President an honorary role, but Aleksandar Vucic is undoubtedly the one who makes the decisions. The name of the future prime minister, in the event of a victory, has not been announced. The poster is not signed SNS but proclaims: “Aleksandar Vucic for our children”.

Analysts talk about a “competitive authoritarian system”. “We have competition but the main characters are not equal,” Dusan Spasojevic, professor of political science at the University of Belgrade, told AFP. The ruling party benefits from a media landscape dominated by the pro-government press and a large electoral base made up of public service employees and their relatives, analysts point out.

With AFP