Serbia's Vucic pleads with people not to rally yet; dismisses FH report

Serbia's Vucic pleads with people not to rally yet; dismisses FH report

Serbia's Vucic pleads with people not to rally yet; dismisses FH report Izvor: Tanjug/Dragan Kujundžić

Few hours after the tensions occurred between the two political foes outside Serbia's Parliament building on Monday, President Aleksandar Vucic called on people not to gather before the end of this month to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading, N1 reported.

"It's inadmissible to expose our people to a health risk before we are done with the epidemic. The gathering of mostly (his Serbian Progressive Party) SNS supporters and the opposition Dveri (movement) rallied and I would ask them not to do that," Vucic told a media conference, in what seemed to be his attempt to calm down the situation.

He added he knew that "SNS was not the formal organiser, but some other organisation. I love those people, but it's not responsible for calling people to rally. We don't need the counting, but unity and togetherness. We know who has the majority, the elections show that."

Vucic then added he was informed that "5,790 SNS and 64-65 opposition supporters had gathered."

"I love those people and call on them to wait until the end of May when we will have a chance to gather in big numbers. Until today, the most infected (with Coronavirus) are in Belgrade; we have to protect lives," he said.

Vucic added he talked to his party's MPs Aleksandar Martinovic and Sandra Bozic, asking them to stop the hunger strike.

"I'll talk to Martinovic by phone to try to convince him to stop," Vucic said.

At the same time, Martinovic addressed the crowd, saying Vucic asked Bozic and him to stop the hunger strike, adding she would, but he still had to think about it.

The SNS crowd started dispersing immediately after his address.

Vucic said his only objection to his party's MPs was that they mentioned the prosecutors. "They should be independent… and when Martinovic says they are not, it is some pressure, and we must not do that."

"I wish the best of luck to everybody in the election. I plea with all to conduct a non-violent campaign and to show respect for those who think differently," Vucic said.

He announced he was withdrawing as the head of the economic part of the coronavirus Crisis Team after the Government published its measures to combat the consequences of the epidemic.

Vucic's announcement came hours after the Transparency Serbia criticised him for "dramatic national addresses" and dealing with issues outside his presidential jurisdiction.

Asked about the latest Freedom House reportwhich heavily criticised the corruption in Serbia, Vucic said he thought the authors were experts, "but then I saw it was one man, a journalist with the (the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network) BIRN."

"I read the report. It's extremely unserious and full of incorrect information," Vucic said, adding "there are some true things in it which we have to work on and fix them."

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