Serbia: Vucic To Be Sworn In As President

By Maja Zivanovic

Serbia’s President-elect, Aleksandar Vucic, will sworn in on Wednesday in parliament but the ceremonial inauguration will take place later in June, Serbian media have reported.

The newspaper Vecernje Novosti on Sunday said Vucic will sworn in in parliament over the constitution and a replica of the 12th-century Miroslav Gospel – one of the oldest surviving documents in Old Church Slavonic, listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

Media reports said that Vucic thereby wanted to pay respect towards both the contemporary state and Serbian tradition.

The outgoing Prime Minister and head of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party won 54.9 per cent of the vote in the April 2 presidential election, securing a five-year term as President.

The actual inauguration will take place in the second part of June with world leaders and officials reportedly among the guests.

“The inauguration ceremony will mark a new political era. It will be after June 20,” a senior Progressive Party official Nebojsa Stefanovic said, Serbia’s Tanjug news agency reported on May 22.

The first event marking Vucic’s assumption of his new post will be organised on the same date when departing President Tomislav Nikolic took over his duties five years ago.

Nikolic was sworn in parliament in the presence of ex-President Boris Tadic and rest of the presidential candidates in the 2012 elections, as well as Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej and the diplomatic corps.

Former President Tadic was inaugurated in 2004 at a glamorous event in front of about 2,000 guests, but which was marred by minor incidents, as MPs from the far-right Serbian Radical Party were shouting while wearing T-shirts with the image of their leader, the then war-crimes suspect Vojislav Seselj on them.

It is still unknown who will be the guests at Vucic’s event.

As Vecernje Novosti reported on Monday, Nikolic on Wednesday will hand Vucic the state seal, a flag, and other insignia during the ceremony.

The new President will then attend a military review in front of the building of the Presidency, followed by a meeting with former presidents.

Under the constitution, the President is Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, with powers to appoint, promote and relieve military officers from duty.

The President also signs bills into law, nominates the Prime Minister and other top officials including ambassadors and foreign diplomats.

The role is largely ceremonial, representing the country at home and abroad as well as granting amnesties and awarding honours and medals to citizens.

But many analysts expect Vucic to continue playing a major role behind the scenes in the Serbian politics.


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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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