Serbia: Presidential Election Awaits Vucic’s Decision

By Maja Zivanovic

Speculation that Aleksandar Vucic will stand for the Serbian presidency mounted on Friday when the vice-president of his ruling Serbian Progressive Party, Milos Vucevic, announced that would propose Vucic as the party’s candidate for the elections, expected in March or April.

“If Vucic doesn’t propose a different name, I will recommend him as the presidential candidate, because this campaign boils down to him,” Vucevic said.

If the ruling party does indeed propose Vucic, one person who will be left disappointed is Serbia’s current President, Tomislav Nikolic, who is also a member of the same party.

Nikolic last week said he hoped to get the support of the Progressives for another mandate as head of state.

Nikolic won the election in 2012 as the candidate of the Progressives in a tight race with Boris Tadic. On several occasions he has said he expects the support of the Progressives once again, and is convinced he has the support of a majority in the party.

“I founded it [the Serbian Progressive Party] and I believe it is the strongest party,” he told the Belgrade based Kurir.

Some media reports have suggested that Nikolic could run for president even without the support of the Progressives.

But Socialist leader Ivica Dacic, head of the most important coalition partner of the Progressives, on Friday called the idea “nonsense”.

“I will personally with all my energy support Vucic and he will win in the first round,” Dacic predicted to Serbia’s public broadcaster RTS.

Vucic has not commented on his potential candidacy recently, but did warn that he would quit as Prime Minister if the candidate of the Progressives did not win, rejecting the possibility of political cohabitation.

“In such circumstances, good results are not possible. Then it would be better to leave myself,” he said in November.

So far, the list of announced candidates comprises ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj, former Ombudsman Sasa Jankovic, former Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, right-wing Dveri party chief Bosko Obradovic, Democratic Party of Serbia leader Aleksandar Popovic, and former Progressive Party member Sasa Mirkovic – who is running as an independent.

The others are Serbian People’s Party leader Nenad Popovic, Miroslav Parovic, from the right-wing Treca Srbija party, Cajetina municipality chief Milan Stamatovic, Bratislav Jugovic, who are both running as independents, the president of the Serbian Institute in Washington, Danijela Sremac ,and an American from Serbia, Vladimir Rajcic.

The latest poll conducted by Gallup and published on Wednesday showed that Nikolic would win the election if Vucic did not compete.

As an independent, it said, Nikolic would win 37.2 per cent of votes – and if he was supported by the Progressive Party, the Socialists and other members of the ruling coalition, he could count on 50.2 per cent of the votes in the first round.

According to the poll, in both cases the second-best rated figure is former foreign minister Vuk Jeremic.

Poll have shown that if Nikolic and Jeremic enter the second round, Nikolic would win 58 per cent of the vote and the former foreign minister, 42 per cent.
– See more at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/presidential-elections-in-serbia-all-eyes-on-vucic-02-10-2017#sthash.xQNCTBKo.dpuf

Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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