ISSN 2330-717X

Serbia: Tadic Weighs Risk Of Early Presidential Elections

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By Bojana Barlovac

Serbia’s President faces a dilemma over whether to call early presidential elections by an April 7 deadline.

A senior source in the party has told Balkan Insight that some advisers are encouraging the President to call the vote on the same day as general and local elections on May 6.

They are saying that it will bolster his claims to be a man who cares for the country and its finances.

“This moment is also good for presidential elections as EU candidacy can only boost Tadic’s popularity,” the source said, referring to the fact that Serbia obtained EU candidate status on March 1.

But others are apparently urging Tadic not to take a gamble now and to keep heading the country for a year more, until his term expires.

According to the Law on the Election of the President, the vote must be called at least 30 days before the election takes place, which means April 7, if the vote is to go ahead on May 6.

If Tadic decides to call the vote, he will have to resign as President and Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, the speaker of parliament, will become the acting President until a new head of state is elected.

Dusan Petrovic, Deputy President of the Democrats, told Serbia’s B92 broadcaster on Tuesday that it was necessary to take into account the stability of institutions when deciding on early presidential elections.

“Our system is not designed for all elections to be held simultaneously and we are carefully analyzing whether risks may occur if presidential elections are held alongside parliamentary ones,” Petrovic said.

Presidential elections appear more interesting to voters than parliamentary polls in Serbia. In 2008, 4.6 million Serbs voted for a President while only 4.1 million cast ballots in the parliamentary elections.

Tadic has been President since 2004. The mandate of the head of state lasts five years and the same person cannot be elected more than twice.

Tadic, however, could be elected for a third time because his first mandate doesn’t count as Serbia’s new constitution was only adopted in 2006.

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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