Daily: Decision on elections by January 25

BELGRADE -- Local elections in Belgrade will be called no later than on Jan. 17; the SNS will most likely by Jan. 25 reveal their decision on early parliamentary elections.

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

The daily Večernje Novosti writes that at least 45 and at most 60 days must pass from the moment local elections are announced until election day. According to this, the most likely date to go to the polls will be March 16.

If the ruling coalition chooses a short campaign, elections could even be held on March 2.

The newspaper writes that "time is running out" for the Progressives to have their final word on early parliamentary elections. They would have to be called no later than the end of January in order to be held along with the local polls in Belgrade, on March 16.

PM Ivica Dačić told reporters on Thursday that he and Aleksandar Vučić "agree that elections are not a priority and that this issue is not on the agenda."

“This does not mean that someone is afraid of the elections, moreover I think that possible elections would seal the fate of the opposition parties. If this is the state of play, if there would be no major changes, except for maybe swapping positions within the government, then why we should waste time, when we can do more important things,” Dačić said.

Asked whether calling early elections would stop the negotiations between Belgrade and Priština and Serbia's talks with the EU, Dačić said that certainly there will not be any talks during the period, but rather a break, and underlined that he does not want to be an excuse for not calling the elections.

Serbia should call early parliamentary elections together with the forthcoming early elections in Belgrade, said SNS official and Parliament Speaker Nebojša Stefanović.

"Simultaneous parliamentary and local elections in Belgrade would not hinder the process of Serbia's EU accession talks, instead the elections would make it possible for the reforms to be implemented more courageously," he said.

The early elections in Belgrade will be held within the legally determined time frame, said Stefanović, who in the capacity of the Serbian parliament's speaker is due to call the elections, adding that this can be expected late in February or early in March following the upcoming consultations.

Stefanović said in an interview for Tanjug that the SNS has not yet made a decision on calling early parliamentary elections, adding that he thinks this should happen.

“Simultaneous elections would not jeopardize the EU integration process in any way since the intergovernmental conference will be held on January 21. Second, the election campaign would be short, if the elections were called, no longer than 45 days,” Stefanović said.