Serbian political analysts told N1 that time is running out to reach and implement an agreement between the authorities and opposition on changes to election conditions.
CeSID election watchdog Executive Director Bojan Klacar said that the talks between the authorities and opposition probably won’t result in radical changes to the election conditions. “Fundamental changes mean systemic changes of regulations and there isn’t enough time to reach a compromise (prior to the elections). If the regulations are changed that means that ad hoc radical mechanisms will be introduced as proposed by the opposition and the (ruling) Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) probably isn’t prepared to do that. Also, some of the challenges in terms of election conditions are not just a problem of regulations but of implementation and it’s not realistic to expect changes in behavior in just a few months by state institutions, the media and political parties,” Klacar said.
His views are shared by Belgrade University political sciences professor Dusan Spasojevic. “We’re not seeing any readiness to change in the ruling majority and that is the essence of the problem. On the other hand, neither the opposition nor the European Union seem capable of exerting any significant pressure on the authorities at present,” he said.
CRTA democracy watchdog Program Director Rasa Nedeljkov said that Serbia “is far from a social climate conducive to a dialogue on any problem”. “There is no understanding at present on basic issues, let alone ways to solve problems. The authorities are persistently trying to show a readiness to compromise and improve social and political processes while problems keep piling up, including election condition problems. Insisting only on changing the legal frameworks is insufficient and could even be harmful,” he said.
Political analyst Cvijetin Milivojevic said that there is no great mystery in terms of the election conditions. “The opposition should insist on just a few things instead of many, primarily separating the various levels of elections… implementing election and media laws which is not all that bad if it’s too late to introduce a personalized proportional system… freeing all media outlets, especially those using public assets all 365 days of the year and not just 30 days before the elections,” he said, adding that video surveillance should be in place in all polling stations as well as a ban on the president heading election lists at all levels.
Both Milivojevic and Nedeljkov warned that time is running out to start the talks on election conditions. Spasojevic was slightly less pessimistic, saying that it’s not too late for fundamental changes.