|By Milan Jovanović, FSD president & CEO|
The victory of Aleksandar Vučić and his Serbian progressive party in Belgrade’s local elections was never brought into question by seasoned analysts of Serbian politics. The only unknown variable was how the opposition will fare in those elections.
Assumptions that they will win half the seats plus the one golden vote, which would have been sufficient for the establishing of an alternative to the current political system in the country’s own capitol, were wishful thinking from the very beginning, bordering on political irresponsibility. Glimpses of this could have been evidenced right after Vucic’s great victory in the country’s presidential elections held last spring, when discord and infighting among his political rivals ensued.
As the elections in Belgrade approached this was becoming even more evident.
In the end, things most visible were the self-awareness of their helplessness and proportionate hatred aimed at Serbia’s president and the Progressive party – which has reigned supreme over Serbia’s political landscape since 2012.
However, even though no one doubted in Vucic’s victory, very few people believed that he would win in such a convincing manner!
Or that almost all of the other political parties, especially those that among the people of Belgrade and the citizens of Serbia stood as landmarks of a post-Milosevic Serbia, would be ousted from the city assembly by the votes of Belgrade’s electoral body.
Only two political parties made it into the city assembly. The other two lists were centered around two renowned “non-party” personas.
It is impolite to even ask at this point what will become of Serbia’s opposition parties. The participants in Belgrade’s elections are still dazed and they should be given time to consider their next moves.
The same could be said for the renowned tycoon and sportsman. They have yet to see what can be done with their new political capital.
It seems to me that the far more important question is what Vucic will do with this great victory!
He and his SNS have, according to them, won more votes in Belgrade then they did last year!
The majority they now have in Belgrade’s Assembly is even greater than one that Vucic and SNS’s won in the previous parliamentary elections!
Vucic doesn’t need anyone’s help to elect the city government.
The psychological aspect of this victory in Belgrade is even more significant. Vucic is now in a much better position and the legitimacy of his reign has been bolstered.
Even when we bring to mind their first great victory and the circumstances surrounding the forming of Vucic’s first government; which were, as I am told, not to his full satisfaction, even though he had the sufficient majority to form it by himself, as he said to his people when he commented that the government he assembled wasn’t completely to his liking.
The main question now is what Vucic will do now, as bolstered as he is? Towards what goals will he direct this new power?
Will he finally (re)direct his attention from his addled political rivals to dealing with the “hoodlums” on his side of the fence?! Those whose political arrogance, sometimes open and in complete dissonance with what he himself has been advocating, he has patiently endured for the last few months.
Will he use his new power for the affirmation of a more encompassing political platform for more efficient reforms and changes in the process of euro integrations and more unequivocal distancing of himself from the people surrounding him who openly oppose the EU and the West?
Will he, now that he is in that position, devote more effort and support to the first steps of Serbian society towards a productive and democratic dialogue, not unlike the one the Pole1s went through long ago?
Or will someone, here or from abroad, relaunch stories of a possible “Ukrainian scenario”?