5 May. — The Republic Electoral Commission of Serbia announced the final results of the elections to the country’s parliament, called the Narodna skupština. This time they were essentially held in two stages – on 24 April and then on 4 May, when repeat elections took place in 15 electoral constituencies due to the detection of earlier violations.
As Europe Insight has already reported, the current parliamentary elections are the third in four years (2012, 2014, 2016). All three elections have been characterised by a roughly equivalent level of turnout: 57% in 2012, 53% in 2014, and 56.1% in 2016.
The elections demonstrated that the position of the Serbian Progressive Party (SPP) has been weakening. Although it received a percentage of votes similar to the level in 2014, and garnered 100 thousand votes more, it lost 27 seats in parliament (131 in place of 158). Taking into account that the number of parties in the ruling coalition has grown from five to nine over the past few years, the ratio has, in fact, decreased even further for the Progressivists.
An important outcome of the elections was that a number of opposition parties with programmes opposed to the ruling parties’ path have made it to parliament. We are speaking of the Serbian Radical Party led by Vojislav Šešelj, which has overcome an internal crisis, and the bloc Dveri – Democratic Party of Serbia. Both parties are against the Euroatlantic integration of Serbia and are for closer ties with Russia.
Saša Radulović’s movement Enough is Enough may become an ally of Dveri and the radicals as far as economic issues are concerned. Saša Radulović, who served as Economic Minister in 2013-2014, advocates making adjustments to the liberal economic course and increasing social investments.
There has also been a minor reduction in representation of the parties which have regularly been entering parliament – Ivica Dačić’s bloc (Socialist Party of Serbia – United Serbia), Boris Tadic and Cedomir Jovanovic’s liberal democratic coalition, as well as the Democratic Party.
Traditionally, national minority parties – who are elected by a special quota and do not fall under the 5% threshold – have broad representation in the Narodna skupština. On one hand, the number of representatives for the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (Istvan Pastor) has decreased. On the other, two parties representing Bosnian Muslims made it into parliament for the first time: Bosnian Democratic Union (Muamer Zukorlić) and Sulejman Ugljanin’s Party of Democratic Action of Sandžak. One place went to an Albanian party.
The uncertainty of the last ten days has presented analysts with essentially one single question: to what extent has Aleksandar Vučić’s power weakened? Slobodan Antonić, an expert from the Serbian Strategic Culture Foundation thinks that the elections just held were the “most problematic” since 2000 and as a result “Vučić is now weaker than he was on 23 April.” Columnist Željka Jovanovića from the publication Nezavisne Novine (Serbian Republic) remarks that even though the Serbian Prime Minister retains much credibility, his victory was far from triumphant.
Finally, a researcher from the Institute for Recent History of Serbia Momir Niković expressed in comments to Europe Insight the hope that an ambitious opposition making it into parliament for the first time in quite a while will allow for the creation of real ideological opposition to the ruling parties.