The Youth Organisation of Serbia's opposition Democratic Party (DS) wrote to Tanja Fajon, an MEP and Chairwoman of the European Parliament Delegation to the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, warning her about the continued deterioration of democracy in the country, the Beta news agency reported on Thursday.
They added there was a threat of „an escalation of the new atmosphere“ in the society, created, as they said, by the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), led by the head of state Aleksandar Vucic.
DS Youth said Vucic „suspended the role of the Parliament once again by declaring on the Pink TV on May 3 that the state of emergency will end on May 6.“
„That move clearly shows he will continue with the autocratic rule and that he sees the Parliament as a tool to legitimise his will and decisions, and not as the highest legislative body,“ the letter to Fajon said.
It added that the pressure on independent journalists in Serbia „culminated when a reporter who had been arrested because of an article, found a hole in her car tyre.“
DS Youth also warned about „ruling coalition MPs and unidentified masked people using the pyrotechnics on the buildings’ rooftops and loudspeakers to chant insults on an opposition leader across Serbia,“ during the curfew.
„All that happens with the assistance of the police which did not answer people’s calls. We worry for the people’s safety since it is the next step in imprisoning the state,“ they said.
In an appeal to the European parliamentarians, Dejan Nikolic, a DS deputy leader, called on them to support the postponement of the elections in Serbia due on June 21.
Nikolic told the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb on Wednesday that the election conditions in Serbia „haven’t improved, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, worsen further.“
„On top of the lack of basic conditions for the normal ballot, there is a health risk from infection, and thus the June 21 vote is unacceptable for the Democratic Party,“ he said.
In separate statements on Thursday, Vesna Rakic Vodinelic, a retired law professor, said that „the autocracy in Serbia is on the edge of becoming a dictatorship,“ while Boban Stojanovic, a political analyst believed that the international community should „switch on the alarm and affect the improvement of democracy in Serbia.“
Rakic Vodinelic told the independent Danas daily that „we who live in Serbia, witness daily decay of democracy and rise of the authoritarianism.“
„That’s not linked to the coronavirus epidemic and the state of emergency only, though it was more visible then. A long time ago, the power has moved to where Aleksandar Vucic is,“ she said.
Stojanovic added that the current situation in Serbia wasn’t related to Kosovo as the only important issue, but that „fundamental freedoms should be resolved, and the level of democracy should increase.“