Serbia most likely to hold elections on April 24 - president

By bne IntelliNews January 27, 2016

Serbia’s president Tomislav Nikolic said on January 26 that April 24 is the most likely date for early parliamentary elections in Serbia, which will coincide with regular local and regional elections in the northern province of Vojvodina.

Prime minister Aleksandar Vucic announced on January 17 that Serbia will hold early general elections in spring 2016, again just two years after the early elections in March 2014. Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) hopes to extend its mandate and boost support, even though the government formed in April 2014 remains stable as the SNS holds 158 seats in Serbia’s 250-seat parliament.

Nikolic told a Pink TV talk show that the final date of elections will be set by Vucic, and that if the elections are to take place in April, Vucic will officially need to call the elections in March.

Vucic said on January 26 that general elections would be called in 45-50 days, Tanjug reported. This would mean calling elections between 10 and 17 March.

He underlined that the campaign would last for around 10 days, noting that the elections were the best way to resolve all “misunderstandings in society”.

“Our plans are the main reason for elections. We should complete all our endeavors by 2020. Of course, there is an atmosphere in which the opposition is saying that I have no legitimacy. And then elections are good for the society, it is fair and democratic that citizens have their say in the elections,” he said at the opening of the Belgrade Center railway station.

Nikolic, who resigned his membership of the SNS after being appointed president, said he believes his former party will win the upcoming elections.

“I do not expect any changes that would take Serbia in a different direction or jeopardise its security or lead to conflicts, maybe on the streets. I don’t believe in such a scenario,” Nikolic said.

“Serbia will not stop because of early parliamentary election as reforms, investments, security and foreign politics will not suffer,” Nikolic added

An early general election could help the SNS push ahead with planned reforms, assuming the party manages to increase its majority. However, ongoing fiscal consolidation measures, the planned closure of hundreds of public companies which could result in 30,000 job losses, and constant increases in food prices are all expected to reduce Vucic’s popularity.

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