Serbia’s President Nikolic gives up plans to run for re-election

By bne IntelliNews February 20, 2017

Serbia’s President Tomislav Nikolic has given on plans to run for re-election this spring after talks with Prime Minister Vucic on February 20. 

The ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) announced on February 14 that Vucic would be its candidate in the upcoming election. Since then, speculation that Nikolic could decide to stand against the prime minister has been rife. 

However, Vucic and Nikolic have decided to maintain their close ties - the two co-founded the SNS in 2008 - and to talk again after the elections, according to the latest information from the Serbian government.

“The two officials described their cooperation to date as important and successful for Serbia and agreed to work closely in the future,” reads a joint statement by Vucic and Nikolic issued after the meeting on February 20.

According to the statement, the president and the prime minister fully agree that Serbia is facing serious challenges, which require a joint and comprehensive response from the state leadership.

“The unity of all state officials in resolving regional problems and avoiding a widest scale crisis are priority tasks of both President Nikolic and Prime Minister Vucic,” the statement reads.

Previously Nikolic had refused to either confirm or deny whether he planned to run in the election, saying only that he was still waiting to make a deal with Vucic. He also indicated that in return for not running for the presidency, he wanted to return as leader of the SNS and get the mandate to form a new government once Vucic became president. 

SNS official and parliament speaker Maja Gojkovic has said presidential elections will be called during the week of February 20-25, and a decision on whether to hold parliamentary elections this spring will be made at the same time.

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