President schedules elections for March 16

BELGRADE -- President Tomislav Nikolić on Wednesday at noon signed a decree on the dissolution of the Serbian parliament, and scheduled early elections for March 16.

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

"I have just signed a decree on the dissolution of the Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and the decision to call early parliamentary elections for March 16, by which I fulfilled my constitutional obligations and constitutional rights on the basis of a proposal of the government," Nikolić said in his address to the citizens of Serbia.

Nikolić noted that it has been two years since the last elections, and that Serbia during that time "experienced a huge change for the better." The credit for this, he said, goes to "everyone holding state office, and above all to the government."

"We also reached the goal of opening negotiations with the EU, which for many was an unthinkable goal, we established dialogue with Priština, we opened our doors and our national policy has been accepted by many countries around the world, and we renewed friendships in the east, west, north and south," he said, and added that "much work remains, painful reforms and meeting the requirements set before each new member by the EU."

"We welcome this in a much better atmosphere than two years ago because we are not so much at odds," said the president.

Nikolić then stated that he expected "a fair and democratic campaign, full of enthusiasm, which everyone will enter with a program, and not a campaign in which one harbors bad thoughts for others."

"The government wished to verify its legitimacy and opposition parties wanted that as well, and I think that the conditions for fair and democratic elections have been met," said Nikolić, and wished everyone "happy new elections."

On Tuesday, PM Ivica Dačić and his first deputy Aleksandar Vučić handed over the government's proposal to dissolve parliament to Nikolić.

Early local elections in the city of Belgrade have also been scheduled for March 16.

The cabinet headed by Dačić was elected in July 2012, and underwent a reshuffle last September.