Serbia’s Vucic &Govt accept demonstrators’ demands, no new protests scheduled

NEWS 08.12.2021 17:38
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Source: screenshot/Tanjug

Serbia's Government withdrew on Wednesday the controversial Expropriation Law from the Parliamentary procedure after President Aleksandar Vucic returned it to MPs following environmentalists' mass protests across the country during the last two weekends, and some organisers said if the Parliament passed the changes by Friday, no new protests would be called for the next Saturday.

Law on Referendum abolished a mandatory turnout of 50 percent plus one for the vote to be valid and included verification taxes on signatures for a civil initiative.

The demonstrators said that law and the Expropriation Law, passed by the Parliament but not signed by President Aleksandar Vucic, were tailored to suit Rio Tinto’s project of mining lithium in the west of Serbia.

On Wednesday, The Government said it would analyse whether changes and amendments were needed, and if the Expropriation Law should be changed, it would be done in a broad public debate.

The decision followed Vucic’s initiative.

One of the leaders of Serbia’s environmentalists, Savo Manojlovic, told the nova.rs website that there would not be new protests on Saturday if the Parliament adopted the changes to the Law on Referendum.

„The Government accepted all demands from the protests, and if the Parliament passed them, there wouldn’t be protests on Saturday,“ Savo Manojlovic, the leader of the ‘Go-Change’ Initiative, said.

He announced celebrations instead.

Mass rallies in Serbia were organised against the controversial laws.

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On Wednesday, the Government also suggested the Parliament change the Law on Referendum in articles 7, 20, 43 and 44, i.e. to abolish verification taxes, accept representatives of authorised proposers as members of a body conducting a referendum, and extend to four years the previously set stipulation that a referendum can be called every year.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Ecological Uprising organisation said it would call for roadblocks unless the western town of Loznica’a authorities removed the Rio Tinto Jadar lithium mine project from its plans.

It said it would call the local population to „block roads until the final goal – the expulsion of Rio Tinto from Serbia – is met“.

 

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