Serbia’s president calls snap elections for December 17 – POLITICO

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić on Friday announced he was calling for snap parliamentary elections on December 17, which will be the third time voters in the country head to the polls in three and a half years.

Vučić, whose ruling Progressive Party (SNS) is the dominant force in the parliament, has been facing mounting pressure from the opposition after two deadly mass shootings in the spring sparked public outrage and triggered massive protests.

“We heard all their demands,” Vučić told public broadcaster RTS, alluding to a letter sent by the opposition on September 11 requesting a snap vote.

“They asked for Belgrade and parliamentary elections and they got them,” the president said, adding there would also be regional elections in Vojvodina, an autonomous province in northern Serbia.

“Serbia is at a turning point — we need a half-time so citizens can say what kind of policy they want,” Vučić said.

Serbia, which has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, was rocked by two mass shootings in just two days in May, in which 17 people died, including eight children.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets following the shootings, demanding the resignations of government ministers and calling for Vučić to leave office.

The authorities have since then cracked down on gun ownership, but the Serbian president has warned there would be “no Maidan in Belgrade,” referring to the Ukrainian revolution that ousted that country’s unpopular pro-Russian regime in 2014.

Vučić won re-election by a landslide in presidential elections in April 2022, while his SNS party secured the largest number of parliamentary seats.

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