Hundreds of people rallied peacefully for a second night in Belgrade yesterday (4 April) to protest against the overwhelming victory of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić in a presidential election.
Protesters gathered in front of the Serbian parliament, following announcements on social media, chanting “No to dictatorship” and blowing whistles.
— Lily Lynch (@lilyslynch) April 3, 2017
“What we want is Vučić to step down, he is an autocrat and we do not want him,” said Nemanja Tomic, 22, a student. Some demonstrators alleged Sunday’s presidential vote (2 April) was rigged.
— Balkanist Magazine (@Balkanist) April 4, 2017
The protesters did not set any specific demands. Similar protests have been staged in several towns throughout Serbia.
Vučić, 47, took a decisive 55.02% of votes in the election, confirming his domination over the Balkan country as he pursues a balancing act between Europe and Russia.
His new job will be largely ceremonial, but he is expected to retain de facto power through control of his ruling Serbian Progressive Party.
The election result came as a humiliation for the beleaguered opposition.
— Balkan Insight (@BalkanInsight) April 4, 2017
Sasa Janković, the main opposition candidate and former rights advocate, came second with only 16.36% of votes.
Twenty-five-year-old student Luka Maksimović, who ran as a white-suited parody of a sleazy imaginary politician called Ljubiša Preletačević “Beli”, came third with 9.43%.
Both Janković and Maksimović have expressed support for the protests but have not joined them.
Vučić has repeatedly said his change of job will not alter the former Yugoslav republic’s geopolitical balance between the European Union, which Serbia wants to join, and Russia, with which Serbs share their Orthodox Christian faith and Slavic heritage.