Ruling Serbian Progressive Party wins parliamentary elections

On 24 April early parliamentary elections took place in Serbia, where Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) won 48,28 percent of the votes. According to Vučić his government has been held back by opposition and the elections were needed to solve the social conflict that is blocking reforms.

Based on 97 percent of the counted ballots, second largest was the SPS-JS coalition with 11,02 percent and third  came the Serbian Radical Party (SRS, Šešelj) with 8,04 percent. More parties crossed the threshold of 5 percent: the left-wing coalition led by Democratic Party DS (NOVA-DSHV-ZZS), the Its Enough Movement (DJB), the left SDS-LDP-LSV coalition (alliance for a better Serbia) and the DSS-Dveri.

Party

Result 2016

Result 2014

Serbian Progressive Party of PM Vučić (SNS, former Radicals)

48,25 %

48,35 %

Serbian Socialist Party of FM Dačić (SPS, formerly led by Milošević)

11,01 %

13,49 %

Serbian Radical Party (SRS, Šešelj)

  8,05 %

  2,01 %

Democratic Party (DS), sister party led by Bojan Pajtić

  6,04 %

  6,03 %

It’s Enough Movement (Radulović, liberal party)

  5,95 %

  2,09 %

SDS-LDP-LSV (Tadić, Jovanović and Čanak left wing coalition)

  5,03 %

  5,70 %

Dveri (social, religious conservative party)

  5,00 %

  3,58 %


Serbian Progressive Party (SNS)
Two years ago at the elections, the SNS gained also 48 percent. SNS leader Vučić said: "This is an historic result, getting more votes in absolute numbers and in percentages than two years ago when we started difficult reforms." He now has to decide whether he wants to continue ruling with the socialist coalition (11,02 percent) or that he will rule alone. It seems likely that he will opt to rule alone as the cooperation with SPS has not been smooth over the last two years.

After the polls closed, Vučić said that Serbia will continue on its European path but also said he will maintain its relations with Russia which is their traditional Orthodox ally. Vučić is a former ultranationalist who supported the idea of a Greater Serbia, but now presents himself as a pro-European reformer.
 
Democratic Party (DS)
According to DS leader Bojan Pajtic, the elections were anything but fair and honest. “The elections went under a media blockade of the opposition, several months of demonization of the DS, arrests, physical violence, with the aim of destroying the DS," he said. He added his party will submit complaints regarding election irregularities. According to Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability, one of the local election monitoring groups, The most common irregularities were double voting.

Finally, Pajtic added that the next goal is the presidential election, we call on all democratic forces to come together, as soon as within the next several months, in a fight that will show that Serbia is not a country of the past." But he declined to say who the opposition's candidate might be.

Early elections
On January 17th, Vučić called the vote two years ahead of schedule, saying it is needed to solve the social conflict that is blocking reforms. A stronger mandate than the 131 seats that the Serbian Progressive Party now controls would help him achieve his goals of bringing Serbia closer to EU membership and bolstering the economy by pushing through reforms required by the EU and the IMF. Vučić and his governing coalition partners narrowly missed securing a two-thirds majority in the 2014 vote, when they won 158 seats.

EU reaction
The EU Commissioner for enlargement, Johannes Hahn, said on Twitter he was confident Vučić "will use citizens' strong support in a responsible way and that the election will strengthen Serbia's EU perspective."

Sources: RFE/RL, BBC, Reuters, Balkaninsight, B92, B92

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