The head of the Serbian Patriotic Alliance (SPAS), Aleksandar Sapic denied on Thursday the idea of his organisation’s unification with President Aleksandar Vucic’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) was a matter of political trade.
A few years ago, Sapic, was publicly proud of his election victory over the list headed by Vucic in the municipal vote in New Belgrade.
“I’m the only politician who headed an election list which won over Vucic’s candidates,” he told the Belgrade independent New Magazine weekly in an interview.
He also complained about pressure on his voters, saying, “who doesn’t know to dribble, breaks legs.”
The first obvious shift in his politics was the decision to participate in the 2020 general elections, despite describing his party as an opposition to the ruling coalition, thus distancing himself from the rest of Vucic’s political opponents who boycotted the ballot claiming unfair conditions.
Thanks to reducing the election threshold from five to three percent, SPAS entered the Parliament ]with just over four percent of the votes.
He has refused to take part in the current European Parliament (EP) mediated inter-party dialogue on election’s conditions aimed to make it possible that the opposition to participate in the 2022 ballot, saying no foreigners should interfere with domestic politics.
Once the best water polo player in the world who scored 2,675 goals in the career, and then long-time head of New Belgrade municipality, Sapic, 42, said on Thursday that the idea of the merger with SNS had existed for a while and that he and Vucic had talked about it before.
“It’s now on a higher level. I assume that within the next month we’ll know more. I expect we’ll strike a deal and become one organisation, Sapic told TV Vesti.
Denying the unification was a matter of political trade, he said it was essential that “in politics, the cooperation with some people and organisations is based on common policies, stands and views about key issues. If we hadn’t had similar and sometimes identical views about important state’s issues, this would not have happened.”
Sapic was reluctant in confirming he would run for the Mayor of Belgrade, adding he had been in local politics for 11 years.
“It will soon be a decade since I have been running the most populated and most advanced municipality in Serbia… There will be a logic behind my candidacy for the mayorship next year, but politics is unpredictable,” Sapic said.
Analysts believe Vucic’s idea about taking Sapic’s SPAS under his wing was an attempt to raise SNS chance of winning in Belgrade local elections in 2022, particularly because his party doesn’t have a real candidate for the Mayor since even his voters in the capital dislike the main city’s officials.
On Wednesday, Vucic said SNS was sure to lose the vote in the capital. He predicted that ahead of the last local ballot, too, only to win even in the traditionally democrats-ruled municipality in Belgrade.
In the first reactions to Sapic’s decision, some journalists said he was likely to lose the support of some of his New Belgrade voters after deciding to become a part of SNS.