Mayor blames "political deal" for his sacking

Dragan Đilas says his removal from office will be the result of "a political deal" that shows the country is "sliding into dictatorship and one-party system."

Source: B92
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The mayor of Belgrade told reporters on Tuesday that his dismissal "had nothing to do with the results the current city administration had achieved."

Đilas came to the session of the City Assembly of Belgrade after councilors adopted the agenda, including the proposal for his dismissal, filed yesterday by the SNS and the DSS parties.

He said that "it is clear what will happen today" - but added that he "did not want to prejudge the outcome of the vote."

Noting that he "did not want to utter heavy words," Đilas stated that he was proud of the team at the capital city's helm and what it achieved, and thanked Belgraders for their support.

Đilas, who is also the leader of the Democratic Party (DS), announced that when elections are called he plans to "run again."

He said he expects elections in Belgrade in the spring, and that their result will show "that the way in which the city government led the capital was healthy and correct."

Đilas said he believes that he will be mayor once again, and reiterated his position in favor of direct mayoral elections.

Đilas then noted that after his dismissal he expected "more arrests of DS members," and commented on Tuesday's police operation in Novi Sad to ask if anyone in Serbia "believes that the arrests are a real thing" and that the prosecution and the courts operate independently.

Asked whether he himself expected to be arrested, Đilas said he did not - "because there is no reason for it." He then added: "But in these times nothing would surprise me."

Meanwhile, a debate is ongoing this Tuesday at the Belgrade City Assembly. A majority to support the SNS-DSS initiative was secured when they were joined by the Socialists (SPS), and crucially by the Pensioners (PUPS).

Milan Krkobabić of PUPS said today the councilors from his party's ranks would vote in favor of dismissing Đilas because SNS leader Aleksandar Vučić "last night promised that the social program for Belgrade will not be changed."

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