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Serbia Opposition Mulls Joint Strategy For Elections

A number of opposition parties have scheduled a joint meeting for Friday to discuss the creation of conditions for free and fair presidential and local elections in Serbia.
Constitution of the Serbian Assembly. Photo: Beta 

Friday’s joint meeting of opposition parties in Serbia has been summoned on the request of the “Movement for Turnaround” [Pokret za preokret”], which claims that the parliamentary elections held in April were not held in a free and democratic atmosphere.

“It is time that normal conditions for elections were created in Serbia. At the meeting we will discuss what we should do to achieve this goal,” Janko Veselinovic, the leader of the “Movement for Turnaround”, told BIRN.

Veselinovic said that 17 political parties and movements have been invited to the meeting. The biggest opposition party, Democratic Party, and Sandra Raskovic Ivic, former head of Democratic Party of Serbia, will attend.

Veselinovic is a former MP of the Democratic Party and Social Democratic Party, leaving in 2015 to found “Movement for the Turnaround”.

He said that only parties that do not support government, directly nor indirectly, are attending the joint meeting. The Liberal Democratic Party, LDP, the Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, and the Serbian Radical Party, SRS, did not get invited.

“We will discuss the democratic methods of a political struggle to create conditions for free and democratic elections. In the last elections, held in April, the government flagrantly broke the will of the people,” Veselinovic said.

Independent MP Dodje Vukadinovic told BIRN said that at this point it would be premature to discuss fielding a joint opposition candidate for the presidential election in 2017.

“In these conditions, when the government is pressing the media and basically controlling everything else, neither Churchill, Angela Merkel, Barack Obama nor John F Kennedy could win an election. No one could win beside the candidate from the government,” he said.

Vukadinovic also said the conditions for free elections should be agreed first, before talks on a joint candidate start.

“That doesn’t mean that we should turn away from the idea of the joint candidate. If the government, which is made up of different parties, is preparing a joint candidate, why shouldn’t the opposition do the same?” Vukadinovic asked.