BELGRADE – Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić entered a second term on an election Sunday and will now have to face questions as to whether he can continue his balancing act between Moscow and the West.
Vučić was projected to win nearly 60 percent of the vote in the presidential election – some 40 points ahead of his nearest challenger, according to pollster Ipsos and the Center for Free Elections and Democracy, a local NGO.
The President is conservative The Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) emerged victorious in parliamentary elections held on the same day with an expected 43 percent of the vote. Its junior coalition partner, the Socialist Party of Serbia, is expected to take 11.4 percent, giving the government an overwhelming majority.
The victories had been widely expected, not least because of that Vučić is accused of increasingly autocratic rule by his domestic political opponents and democracy experts. Vučić has denied the allegations, claiming the opposition just isn’t good enough to challenge him.
Vučić is now under renewed scrutiny for his ambiguous stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. While Belgrade has said it supports Ukraine, it has refused to impose sanctions on Moscow, its longtime ally.
Serbia has been in EU accession talks for years, and the bloc has made it clear that it expects potential members to follow its foreign policy line, and sanctions in particular.
Another big story of election night was the unexpected success of the Serbian far right. Two parties from this end of the spectrum, Dveri and the Serbian Oathkeepers, will both be represented in parliament with just under 4 percent of the vote.
The centrist coalition United Serbia and left-green upstart Moramo! (“We have to!”) ended up even further behind than polls predicted before the election, at around 13 percent and 5 percent respectively.
However, questions about the integrity of the vote will remain. CRTA, a Belgrade-based civil society NGO and official election observer, said voting irregularities were recorded in 12 percent of polling stations. Earlier in the day, prominent opposition candidate Pavle Grbović was attacked outside his local polling station and left with a bloodied lip after being slapped several times in the face.
https://www.politico.eu/article/serbias-aleksandar-vucic-cruises-to-re-election/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Serbia's Aleksandar Vučić is running for re-election – POLITICO