July 19, 2024

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Serbian elections in the shadow of war: a populist president promises stability |  Abroad

Serbian elections in the shadow of war: a populist president promises stability | Abroad

With war raging across the European continent, Serbian populist President Aleksandar Vucic hopes to win a second term in Serbia’s elections on Sunday by promising stability.

After a decade in power, the country’s leading center-right party, the SNS, wants to assert its control over Parliament. The president himself is leading opinion polls for a second term. In addition to the 250 members of parliament and the president, the country of about 7 million also elects several municipal councils.

“Peace. Stability. Phucic.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February changed the course of the election campaign. According to commentators, you should focus on the environment, corruption and rights. But Vucic, accused by opponents of authoritarianism, took the war in his favour. He presented himself as the only captain capable of commanding a ship in inclement weather.

“See here the flour, the salt that was delivered yesterday. The warehouses are full,” he said on television, boasting of Serbia’s food reserves, which is battling an inflationary crisis. In the middle of his campaign, he also came up with a new slogan: “Peace. stability. Phucic”.

A few months ago, the opposition appeared to have made headway. In January, Vucic canceled the controversial lithium-mine project, sending thousands of people onto the streets. Vucic’s reversal of his decision did not happen much in the decade when he was in power as Deputy Prime Minister, Prime Minister or President.

Former general candidate for the pro-European opposition

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Although the incumbent president is the front-runner, the opposition is hoping for a strong turnout until a second round is held.

Presidential candidate Zdravko Bonos. © ANP / EPA

According to recent opinion polls, Vucic’s main rival is ex-general Zdravko Bonos, a surprising candidate from the pro-European opposition camp. “The question is not whether the opposition will get a few more seats, but whether Serbia will remain as a democratic and European country if (Vucic, liberator) stays in power for another five years,” he told AFP. France Press agency.

For analysts, the opposition has little chance of ousting Vucic or overturning the composition of parliament. This parliament is almost entirely in the hands of a pro-Fucic coalition.

Pro-Russian Serbs

In Serbia, many residents support the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine. Many opposition parties share those pro-Russian views. Those who do not dare to speak out so as not to lose the pro-Russian voters.

Vucic had previously expressed his desire to win a second term with a clear victory in the first round. And it seemed that “anything less than 60 percent (of the vote, editor) would be a failure”.