Serbia’s Pro-European Opposition Makes Unity Pact for Elections

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The country’s pro-European opposition parties reached an agreement to run together against President Aleksandar Vucic’s ruling party under the name Serbia Against Violence in elections scheduled for December 17.

The opposition parties that organised several months of weekly protests under the banner ‘Serbia Against Violence’ agreed on Friday to run a united electoral list of candidates under the same name at the upcoming parliamentary elections on December 17 and the simultaneous polls in the capital Belgrade.

“We have agreed on a joint appearance in the elections on the basis of good cooperation in parliament, joint protest organisations for Serbia Against Violence and numerous other actions that these organisations jointly and individually carried out in order to make Serbia a good place for all our citizens to live,” journalist Smiljan Banjac, who was one of the protest organisers, told a press conference.

“We are not hiding our differences, but consider them an advantage and a strength that shows our willingness to respect [each other] and find common solutions in the interest of the citizens of Serbia,” said Banjac.

The joint list will include the Freedom and Justice Party of former Belgrade mayor Dragan Djilas, the People’s Movement of Serbia, led by Miroslav Aleksic, and the Green-Left Front/Ne Davimo Beograd, which is known for grassroots activism.

It will also include the Srce (The Heart) movement led by Zdravko Ponos, who was came second behind Aleksandar Vucic at the presidential elections in 2022, the Ecological Uprising, known for leading environmental protests in recent years, the Democratic Party, which led the country before Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party, the liberal, pro-European Movement of Free Citizens and the Zajedno (Together) Party.

Their agreement came after months of weekly protests under the slogan ‘Serbia Against Violence’, which started after two mass shootings in May.

The ruling majority led by the Serbian Progressive Party did not accept many of the demands submitted by the opposition at the protests, which still take place every week. The opposition has said that the only way to fulfill its demands is to oust the government at the ballot box.

In early September, several opposition parties submitted a request to Vucic to call elections for parliament and for the Belgrade Assembly by the end of the year.

In mid-October, Vucic then decided, despite this not being his constitutional role, to hold urgent parliamentary elections and local elections in the capital Belgrade and in the province of Vojvodina on December 17.

The opposition previously called for separate elections in Belgrade, as it has much a bigger chance of winning in the capital. The opposition won around 50,000 more votes in Belgrade in last year’s elections than the parties currently in power. However, when those votes were turned into seats, they did not form a majority in the capital, home to around 1.6 million people.

According to the opposition’s agreement, the top name on the joint electoral list will be Radomir Lazovic, one of the most prominent faces in the Green-Left Front Party that emerged from the grassroots movement Ne Davimo Beograd (Let’s Not Drown Belgrade).

The opposition’s candidate for mayor of Belgrade will be Vladimir Obradovic, who was suggested by the Freedom and Justice Party, while the candidate for deputy will be Dobrica Veselinovic from the Green-Left Front Party.

Serbian right-wing opposition has not reached agreement on a joint list for the elections yet.

The Dveri party and Zavetnici (Oathkeepers) have put together a joint list. But the New Democratic Party of Serbia and the Movement for Kingdom Serbia have not joined them at this point because, they said, Dveri and Zavetnici did not agree to sign a deal saying they will cooperate with the pro-European opposition to oust Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party.

Source : Balkaninsight