President SerbiaAleksandar Vucic declared Sunday (3) a landslide victory in the presidential elections, presenting himself as a guarantee of stability in light of the war in Ukraine.
“She got 2,245,000 votes in the first round,” the president said during his speech, which equates to about 60% of the vote.
The vote, which was hampered by some events reported by NGOs and the opposition, was called to elect 250 deputies and councilors, in addition to the President of the Republic.
The official results are scheduled to be announced on Monday (4), but Vucic showed confidence even before the polls closed, stressing that the count would not be necessary.
“I am pleased that so many people voted and demonstrated the democratic nature of society SerbiaVucic said in a televised message.
The Independent High Electoral Commission estimated overnight that the turnout would have reached 60% of the electorate.
According to recent opinion polls, the head of the center-right SNS party is expected to assert his control of Parliament. The president is emerging as the favorite for a second term in this country traditionally close to Russia.
Russian President Putin meets his Serbian counterpart Vucic in Sochi – Photo: Sputnik / Mikhail Klementev / Kremlin via Reuters
The Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February changed the course of the election campaign, which analysts said will focus on the environment, corruption and citizens’ rights.
Vucic, accused of tyranny by his opponents, took advantage of the instability caused by the war and presented himself as the only candidate capable of running the country in the midst of crisis.
During the campaign, the president put on a new slogan: “Peace. Stability. Vucic.”
In a country once considered a pariah, memories of the wars that led to the violent break-up of Yugoslavia and the economic sanctions that affected the middle class still survive.
“People would prefer a leader who promises stability over risks change,” said Zoran Stojlikovic, a political science professor in Belgrade.
He adds: “Major crises, in the short term at least, are in the interest of those already in power. They generate uncertainty, fear and hope that the system will at least ensure basic security.”
A few months ago, the opposition appeared to have advanced in the opinion polls.
In January, Vucic canceled a controversial lithium-mine project that had sparked protests from tens of thousands of people.
The withdrawal came as a surprise to a man who does not usually change position after a decade in power, such as deputy prime minister, head of government or president.
The opposition hopes for a high turnout on Sunday to move the dispute to the second round.
Opinion polls have indicated that retired General Zdravko Bonos, a surprise candidate from the pro-European opposition, is Vucic’s main opponent.
“I hope the vote is synonymous with a serious change in Serbia“I think a bright future and elections are a good way to change the situation,” Bonos said.
But analysts do not expect major changes from the current parliament, which is almost entirely controlled by the pro-Vucic coalition.
at SerbiaMany support the Kremlin’s war, including some opposition parties. And those who don’t, don’t speak up for fear of alienating pro-Moscow voters.
Also, Vucic has other weapons. In his tenure, he has intensified his influence at all levels of power and de facto controlling institutions, as well as almost all media outlets.
Before the election campaign, the president announced subsidies and his critics accused him of vote buying.
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