site.btaSerbia's President Vucic Promises Early Parliamentary Election after Anti-Violence Protests
In an address to the nation on Wednesday evening, Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic promised an early parliamentary election to be conducted by the end of the year, in an apparent attempt to defuse the large protests against his rule in the wake of two mass shootings on May 3 and 4 that shook Serbia, Associated Press reported.
The President said: "Now it's clear that we will have early parliamentary elections". During his address, he was joined by his political ally, Serbia's Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, who stated: "I'm ready to resign, my resignation is on the table".
Over the last five weeks, tens of thousands of people have been gathering in Belgrade to protest the violence in the country, which culminated in two mass shootings resulting in 18 deaths early May. The protesters are demanding the resignations of government officials and a ban on violent television programmes. A new protest is scheduled for Friday, Reuters reported.
Brnabic said that her government, which is dominated by the ruling Serbian Progressive Party, is ready to meet the opposition and discuss how to improve the situation. She added: "When society is in crisis, talks are the only way [...], and they are not willing to talk".
Opposition leaders said they would meet the government once their demands are met, including the removal of the Interior Minister and the head of the country's security agency.
The opposition accuses Vucic of fomenting intolerance and hate speech, of ruling in an increasingly authoritarian manner and of illegally seizing control of all state institutions, while Vucic rejects the accusations and claims the opposition wants to forcibly remove him from power.