The regional elections ended with the overwhelming victory of the Serbian Progressive Party. On the national level, there is at least one party which succeeded in getting votes above 10%, but in Vojvodina, even with the coalition around the socialists, it only amounts to a bit above 8%. The others got even less, lining up with 5-6-7%. We asked Mihal Ramač, political analyst, former editor in chief of the Danas daily paper, to give comments on the effects of the current political lineup on Vojvodina for the following four years.
There were minor irregularities on these elections. In light of these, in general, what do you think of these regional elections?
– The foreign observers have also confirmed that the irregularities were not that serious to raise doubt in the outcome of the elections. There were always a few problems, this is simply in the nature of our country. Even I don’t believe that nowadays, on some voting places, it’s possible to steal 100-200 votes, as it was possible in the past.
The progressives attained an overwhelming victory. Is this a surprise?
– It’s not a surprise, taking into account the majority they had so far in the national parliament. What is surprising is that the opposition did not succeed in gathering a definite group of supporters, they did not mobilize their members as good as the progressives. Vučić went into attack, and can celebrate a well earned victory, while to opposition didn’t know how to handle the situation, and they got the results they did. To tell the truth, the democrats and the league had enough years to do something concrete. Most probably, a lot of votes went to the progressives, as people were unsatisfied with their performance so far.
Is it a surprise that the It was enough party got such good results in Vojvodina, in Novi Sad, they got 9% of votes?
– Yes, this may be regarded as a surprise, a pleasant surprise – not that I was holding my fingers crossed for them. One couldn’t hear much about them in the campaign, at least not on the streets. They succeeded in assessing, on the other hand, where and how to transfer their message for optimal results. They used social networks and reached fantastic results. I talked a lot to the young population during the campaign, living in Novi Sad, in the Liman suburb, and a lot of them found it uplifting to be able to vote for them. They communicated to one another on the social web, could also reach the members of the organization. They party knew exactly what to send, where and to who.
The radicals were present in the provincial parliament, but in lesser numbers. Does their success change anything?
– As it seems, the absolute majority belongs to the progressives, and they apparently respect the rights of the minorities, which means that the ascension of the radicals does not pose any serious threat. So, it won’t be any worse for the minorities. Moreover, taking into account the SPP’s exceptional communication with Brussels, and Budapest, and the fact that the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians will be their partners on the national and provincial level, the situation of minorities could even get better. The economy, on the other hand, has a huge role in the entire situation, which is currently catastrophic. I have not seen any program from the progressives which focuses on the development and advancement of the economy. I have also not heard of anything relating to the support of Vojvodina’s autonomy.
So this means the AVH will have a significant role in urging the resolution of questions which are not directly a priority to the progressives?
– From the statements that I heard from AVH officials, nothing pointed to a change in the party’s normal political stance. And one of the focal points of the party is the protection of Vojvodina’s autonomy. So, if the party does not change its program, then I find it normal that it will ask from its coalitional partner the respect of it. Not only in words, but in reality as well, that is, from the point of view of finances.
The same coalitions will most probably be formed on the national and provincial level, with the exception that in Vojvodina, it’s possible, that a third party will join the coalition. The similarity of power groups in both parliaments, in what will we see a change compared to the last four years owing to this?
– I am not a supporter of the Serbian Progressive Party, but it’s obvious that the situation was really bad for Vojvodina in the last four years because of the constant conflict between the national and provincial level, and in light of these facts, a similar power group in both places may be better. These differences will now simply cease, the same parties will be in power in Belgrade and Novi Sad, and it will be really interesting to follow the behavior of the provincial government, how powerfully it will demand from Belgrade all the things which constitutionally belong to Vojvodina. Belgrade will have no reason to reject Novi Sad’s requests. That is: it had no reason until now either, but it constantly worked against Vojvodina. I guess we won’t see this from now on.
What is that, on which the prospective provincial government should focus on in the next four years?
– In short: a higher degree of economic self-sufficiency. Second should be legislative self-sufficiency. But first and foremost, our money, the financing of our province.