Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vučić, has dissolved the National Assembly and called for early parliamentary and municipal elections to be held on December 17, 2023. The announcement came as a surprise to many, as the current legislature was elected less than two years ago, in April 2022.
Vučić said that he made the decision in order to “preserve vital national and state interests of the Republic of Serbia” in the face of “global challenges, wars, and conflicts”. He also said that he wanted to give the people a chance to express their will and choose their representatives in a democratic way.
The president’s move is widely seen as a strategic attempt to consolidate his power and secure a new mandate for his ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), which has been in power since 2012. The SNS and its coalition partners currently hold 151 of the 250 seats in the parliament, while the main opposition parties boycotted the 2020 elections and denounced them as neither free nor fair.
According to recent polls, an SNS-led coalition would receive about 44% of the votes, followed by a centrist opposition bloc called Against the Violence, with about 38%. Several other parties, including ultranationalist and pro-Russian groups, could also enter the parliament, making it more fragmented and polarized.
The early elections will coincide with local elections in 65 municipalities, including the capital, Belgrade, where the SNS faces a strong challenge from a united opposition front. The elections will also test the public support for Serbia’s EU integration process, which has been stalled by various political and technical obstacles.
The dissolution of the parliament means that all legislative activities will be suspended until a new government is formed after the elections. The president said that he expects the new parliament to convene by January 15, 2024, and that he hopes for a peaceful and fair electoral campaign.