During a session of the City Hall deputies on the 24th of September Belgrade’s Mayor and leader of the Democratic Party (DS), Dragan Đilas, has been dismissed. Đilas shall continue performing the duty of the capital’s first official in the following thirty days while elections shall be held in six months. In a first reaction Đilas stated that his dismissal is a political deal, has nothing to do with what has been achieved in Belgrade in the last 5 years, and shows that the ruling parties on state level are moving the country towards a dictatorship and one-party system.
In the proposal for dismiss of Đilas submitted by the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) there is written that Đilas ‘is not dedicated to leading of the City but to his private business’. There is also said that Đilas is responsible for a credit of 400 million euros and the actual debt of 800 millions together with interests. Đilas is also responsible because at the time of the biggest crisis public enterprises did nothing to cut costs and also because opposition parties were not sufficiently present on the Studio B TV, the SNS and the DSS wrote in their proposal for dismiss.
60 votes against Đilas
The Mayor, who is the leader of the Democratic Party as well, received 60 votes against him, while his own party decided not to vote. Prime Minister and leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) Ivica Dačić announced earlier its support for the initiative, saying the reason was ‘’the fact that the Socialist Party kept the DS in power in Belgrade,’’ while Đilas ‘’did not fail to praise Aleksandar Vučić and PUPS, and criticized me as prime minister.’’ A majority to support the SNS-DSS initiative was secured when they were joined by the Socialists (SPS), and crucially by the Pensioners (PUPS). Milan Krkobabić of PUPS said on September 24th that the councilors from his party’s ranks will vote in favor of dismissing Đilas because SNS leader Aleksandar Vučić "last night promised that the social program for Belgrade will not be changed."
President of the SNS Belgrade Board Nebojsa Stefanović said that ‘’elections will be held in six months and that is sufficient time for all political parties to make necessary preparations’’.
Response from Đilas
Đilas expressed his expectations for the new elections to be held in spring and added that he believes he would win and thus show that the current government headed by the DS ran the city well and in the right direction. The DS leader said that the request for his replacement has nothing to do with the activities carried out by the Belgrade government and that instead, it constitutes the political response to his statement that the country is slowly sliding into dictatorship and one-party system.
Đilas stated that he’s questioning whether Serbian courts operate independently and he noted that after his dismissal he expected "more arrests of DS members". Asked whether he himself expected to be arrested, Đilas said he did not - "because there is no reason for it." He then added: "But in these times nothing would surprise me."
Resources; B92, Tanjug, Serbia-Times