International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Can Serbian opposition overthrow Vucic with "Montenegrin recipe"

September 13, 2020

The opposition's victory in the parliamentary elections in Montenegro after a full three decades of rule by the Democratic Party of Socialists led by Milo Djukanovic begs the question of whether this may be a recipe that could be applied by the opposition in Serbia which, since the arrival of the Serbian Progressive Party to power, unsuccessfully tried to unite into a single body.

Montenegrin opposition parties have found a winning strategy by deciding to go to the polls in three groups. Two decades earlier, the government that was established in Croatia after the first multi-party elections in 1990 was overthrown, and the then opposition appeared in two groups. In the same year, the regime of Slobodan Milosevic fell, the opposition then formed a broad coalition and one electoral list.

The success of the opposition in Montenegro could spill over to Serbia if the opposition parties change the strategy with which they have so far tried to oppose the regime of Aleksandar Vucic, Dusan Spasojevic, assistant professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade, and executive director of the Center for Free Elections and Democracy (CeSID) Bojan Klacar pointed out in an interview for N1 portal.

When asked whether a parallel can be drawn between the regimes of Aleksandar Vucic and Milo Djukanovićc N1's interlocutors agreed that there are more differences than similarities between the two statesmen.

"Djukanovic's regime lasts much longer, but, in my opinion, Montenegro is a freer country, and the elections are more competitive, primarily because of greater media freedoms. Secondly, the opposition scene in Montenegro is fragmented as in Serbia, but it is somewhat more stable, especially in the last four years, and it is roughly known who has and how much support and what kind of ideology. Finally, the opposition in Montenegro decided to go to the polls despite unequal conditions and four years of boycotting parliament without results, while in Serbia the opposition boycotted the elections and surrendered without a fight or an active boycott campaign, which would be the basis for further work," Spasojevic said.

"Both are strong and popular leaders, experienced politicians whose actions have reduced democratic capacities to hybrid regimes instead of democracies. However, the differences are more pronounced because they see foreign policy priorities differently, they don't have the same attitude towards the past, their political style differs, they nurture different political positions of their parties, they are significantly different communicators. In a word, the opposition in Serbia, for my taste, insists too much on emphasizing the similarities in the attempt to profit in Serbia on the wave of criticism of Milo Djukanovic's unproven closeness with Vucic," Klacar stated.

The other essential difference, Klacar believes, is that Milo Djukanovic and his DPS, although leading actors, have not had consolidated power for several years to the extent that the SNS has in Serbia, so the party system and political life in Montenegro, as he says, are much stronger and more vital than in Serbia.

According to Klacar, the opposition in Serbia can only apply part of the political tactics of the Montenegrin opposition in the recent elections.

But Spasojevic believes that the Serbian opposition in its current state has no chance on any elections.

Answering the question about the situation in which the opposition in Serbia would find itself if early parliamentary elections were held at the same time as the presidential elections in less than two years, N1's interlocutors agreed that opposition parties would be in trouble in that case.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a639396/Can-Serbian-opposition-overthrow-Vucic-with-Montenegrin-recipe.html

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