Serbia’s opposition: Single election list; No to Kosovo recognition, no to NATO

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Dragan Đilas
Source: N1

The head of Serbia's opposition Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP) Dragan Djilas, said on Thursday that people wanted a single opposition list for the forthcoming elections next year, particularly in Belgrade, adding talks about NATO membership were meaningless and that no politician would recognise Kosovo's independence and should instead work on reconciliation and cooperation.

A recent poll suggested the ruling coalition might lose the vote in the capital, and Djilas claimed that some 70 percent of voters supported the idea about a single list.

In an interview with Research and Publishing Centre Demostat, Djilas said there was no reason why all opposition parties that not cooperate with the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), and would not accept to deal „with the mafia regime“ would not join forces for the elections.

Serbia holds presidential, Belgrade and some local elections in the spring of 2022, and President Aleksandar Vucic has said an early general vote is possible at the same time.

Djilas said that „as far as SSP is concerned, all elections can be on the same day, Vucic can head all the lists and his name can replace all 250 SNS candidates for the Parliament seats, and he will still lose.“

Djilas suggested that prominent public figures not associated with any party but recognised by the public „for their fight against this evil“ could be on a joint opposition list.

Regarding Kosovo, Djilas said he believed there was no politician in Serbia with substantial public support who would sign the recognition of Kosovo and that instead, it should be worked on „reconciliation of the peoples, on normal life,“ on economic, cultural and educational cooperation.

He also said it was meaningless to speak about Serbia’s NATO membership since the Alliance „destroyed the country“ (in the 1999 bombing over Belgrade policy in Kosovo, the then Serbia’s province), and that „thousands of people were killed.“

However, Djilas added Serbia should cooperate with NATO „as we have been doing to make all living in this part of Europe safe,“ but reiterated the membership „is really not a topic.“

Commenting on the inter-party dialogue on election conditions mediated by the European Parliament (EP), he said there was a chance of an agreement. Still, he added, „it depends more on Europe than anyone else.“

He added that if „they (MEPs) insist their goal is to ‘improve democracy’, then there is nothing to it because we do not have democracy, so there is nothing to improve.“

„A crazy campaign (by SNS and media under its control against the opposition) shows the regime would not give in,“ Djilas said, adding, „it will have to if Europe is consistent in its demands for the respect of laws and the postulates of democracy.“

Speaking about the election control, Djilas said there were „many more than twenty thousand brave people in Serbia who will be able to do the job when the conditions for the elections are met. And to prevent the insertion of several hundred thousand fake ballots, which has been the practice in all elections so far.“