Belgrade mayor is new leader of opposition DS

Belgrade Mayor and top official of the opposition Democratic Party (DS) Dragan Đilas has been elected as the party's new leader.

Source: B92

He is replacing former Serbian president Boris Tadić, whom the DS assembly gathered in Belgrade on Sunday elected to be the party's honorary president.

Tadić previously withdrew from the race, leaving only Đilas and Branimir Kuzmanović in the running.

Đilas received the votes of 2,386 delegates, while Kuzmanović received 368. 70 ballots were invalid.

The DS now also has seven deputy presidents: Bojan Pajtić, who won the most votes, Nataša Vučković, Vesna Martinović, Dejan Nikolić, Miodrag Rakić, Goran Ćirić, and Jovan Matrović.

Dragoljub Mićunović has been reelected as head of the DS Political Council.

The new leader addressed the party to say that he will offer "new solution for a new time in a reformed Democratic Party". He announced that the DS would draft a national plan within the next two months, meant to pave the way out of the crisis, and which would become the pillar of its future activities.

Đilas explained that the plan would be based on investments in agriculture and food industry, energy and infrastructure, strengthening of the rule of law, and investments in education.

He also stated that in the past eight years, his predecessor Tadić "created a state where people can live better and speak and think freely out of a country where political opponents were political enemies."

Đilas also told his party that he expected them to be the opposition "to everything that's not good" - but not the kind that will turn the clock for Serbia and send it back to a time of "nonconstructive political bickering".

The ceremonial part of the DS assembly yesterday was attended by foreign diplomats posted in Belgrade, LDP and SVM leaders Čedomir Jovanović and Ištvan Pastor, as well as deputy PUPS president Milan Krkobabić, SPO officials Aleksandar Jugović and Aleksandar Čotrić, Srđan Milić of Montenegro's SNP, and officials from the League of Social-Democrats of Vojvodina and the Green Party.

The formerly ruling Democrats were unable to form a new government coalition in the wake of the parliamentary elections held in May, and joined the opposition. At the same time, the party's then leader, Boris Tadić, lost his bid to be elected as Serbia's president for a third term.


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