Serbian opposition leader Marinika Tepic said on Thursday that the fact that President Aleksandar Vucic sent a message to prosecutors by appearing in public with a local strongman who has been alleged to have been involved in a sex for favors scandal.
Vucic appeared at the opening of the Fischer automotive systems factory in the town of Jagodina side by side with local strongman Dragan Markovic Palma, a member of the ruling coalition headed by Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), who has been under pressure for weeks following allegations of pimping of young girls. Vucic told reporters that he would not protect Markovic if he is proved guilty of the allegations.
“My impression is that Vucic’s trip to Jagodina, shoulder to shoulder with Palma when the public is expecting to see an investigation into the accusations of organized prostitution… when we expect Palma’s arrest and his removal from television to stop him intimidating victims and witnesses… we have this show which is a message to the prosecution,” Tepic said, adding that the fact that Vucic and Markovic are coalition partners is no reason for the president “to come to the local tycoon” at a sensitive moment.
“I don’t care whether the factory is opened by Vucic or anyone else, he won’t be paying them. The important thing is that this is direct pressure on the prosecution at the most sensitive stage,” she said. According to Tepic, the prosecution seemed to have been ready to launch the investigation. “If that was not the case, Vucic would not have appeared in Jagodina with Palma,” she said adding that Vucic did something similar in other cases when he wanted to free associates of the blame in several cases.