April 2022

By Ben Hoffschneider


On April 3rd, Serbia held presidential and parliamentary elections. Incumbent President Aleksandar Vučić is reported to have won 58% of the vote. The coalition led by his party, the SNS, suffered significant losses in the parliamentary election, receiving 42.92% of the vote and dropping from a supermajority of 188 seats to 120 seats in the 250-seat parliament. SNS’ 120 seats means it needs only 6 non-SNS members to form the next government.

In second place is UZPS with 13.69%, securing 38 seats. Following UZPS is SPS-JS-ZS, receiving 11.43% of the vote and 32 seats. NADA, Moramo, Dveri-POKS, and Zavetnici, received 15, 13, 10, and 10 seats, respectively. The minority parties of VMSZ, SPP, DSHV-ZZV, and SDA S hold 5, 3, 2, and 2 seats, respectively. It is also worth noting that the elections were not free of controversy, with multiple reports of irregularities at polling sites, and a Demostat poll from March showing that 43% of the country did not believe the elections would be “free or fair.”

SNS’ loss of a supermajority will sightly limit their political capital; however, President Vučić’s sweeping presidential victory shows significant support for his continued leadership. Serbia is significantly more pro-Russian than the rest of Europe, setting the country up for debate as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues and pro-Russian opposition returns to parliament. Vučić promised “peace and stability” in the face of the Russian invasion during the campaign, and said he aimed to maintain “friendly and partnership relations” with Russia during his victory speech, aiming to balance its EU membership bid with its existing close ties with China and Russia. While this situation is sure to set up international challenges for Serbia, SNS’ domestic leadership through their likely coalition with SPS will remain secure.

 

 What’s Next?

 

The SPS-JS-ZS party, long-time coalition partners of the SNS, are a likely choice for a ruling coalition in the Serbian parliament. On election night, SPS leader Ivica Dačić expressed his willingness to cooperate with SNS, and negotiations can be expected over the coming weeks. Voter turnout is estimated at around 58%, the highest since 2008. This parliament will also show more pluralism than the previous, with pro-European and pro-Russian opposition parties returning to parliament following a 2020 election boycott.