: Serbia Election: EU grasping at straws - EU Observer

14:20 Apr. 27, 2016

Serbia Election: EU grasping at straws - EU Observer

Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia's prime minister, speaks to supporters during a political rally ahead of Sunday's general election in Belgrade, Serbia, April 21, 2016 (Getty Images)

Deteriorating media freedoms, political clientelism and cheap populism all over the region do not create the conditions for free and fair elections - expert's opinion

Europe's electoral calendar is gathering pace but not enough scrutiny has been placed on Serbia's recent general election. Prime minister Aleksandar Vucic and his Serbian Progressive Party emerged victorious from the 24 April vote.

Many analysts compared this election to a de facto referendum on EU membership. In a recent interview with Vucic , Politico described Serbia's vote as a battle between extremist nationalist and pro-European forces.

Read also Pro-E.U. Serbian Prime Minister Vucic claims victory in general election

Indeed, this is how the Serbian PM would present these elections to the outside world: it is not just a victory for Vucic, it is a victory for Europe. At best this is wishful thinking, at worst wilful denial.

In reality these elections were about affirming Vucic as the undisputed leader of the country. Serbia's EU membership is an issue that is largely distant from the concerns of large parts of the population.

Read also Mainstream hopefuls lag as Austrians vote for new president

It is enough to review the official slogans of the political parties running in the election. Unlike previous ballots, not a single one had the EU as the main motto of their electoral campaign.

When Vucic called for these unnecessary snap elections earlier this year, he had multiple objectives in mind.

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