Polyas Election News 2017

The first round of the Serbian Presidential Election took place on Sunday, a second round runoff election will be avoided. Here you can find the result and the possible implications of the snap presidential election.

Serbian Presidential Election Results:

The Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić has undisputedly won the Serbian presidential election race. Preliminary results show that he has taken a massive 55.7% of the popular vote. He has comfortably won in the first round of voting and achieved the minimum percent necessary (50%) to avoid a runoff election.

His victory is somewhat unsurprising. His party, the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) has a clear majority in the National Assembly. Similarly, as the PM, he has cut a dominant figure in Bulgarian politics. He is no doubt a formidable politician. He is courting EU membership, pursuing closer Russian ties, overseeing a period of economic restructuring as well as government reform. On the other hand, he and his party lack significant opposition – the SNS have won clearly in the last three elections. He has received significant criticism in this election alone: his sponsored adverts have covered nearly all of the major newspapers in the week preceding the election and criticisms have been leveled at his opponent’s lack of coverage in general.

The latest results show that Saša Janković came in second with around 15% of votes. He was running as an independent, campaigning against corruption. He has stated that this is just the beginning. Surprisingly, Luka Maksimović received around 9%. He is a protest candidate supported by large sections of young voters who feel alienated by corruption and poor economic performance.

We will post the official results when they are announced.

The Implications:

Having received more votes than all of his rivals combined, his emphatic victory sends a clear message of stability. His party remains in control of Parliament and while his role as president will be largely ceremonial, he is expected to have continued power and influence as the head of state. As a character and politician, he has a number of clear contrasts. He represented, as PM, a Centre-Right government but was a former radical nationalist and information minister. He is now leading the charge on membership to the EU but has developed ties with the Russian Federation.

Indeed, it is this balance between West and East that has many worried. For many, his close personal relationship with Putin are signs that Russia could be expanding its influence into the Balkans. Russia has historically considered the Balkans to be clearly under its sphere of influence. Ideas of Russian influence have been compounded by Putin’s promise to deliver weapons systems to Serbia.

There are fears among his opponents and international commentators that he could easily change the position of President into a powerful role. With Vučić at the helm and his party with a clear majority, the impact of this election is not yet apparent. Despite this, the SNS runs on a platform of membership of the EU by 2020.  This result shows that there is a clear pro-EU sentiment among the Serbian population. In the wake of the Bulgarian and Dutch elections, Brussels will be pleased, yet wary of the Serbian presidential election results.