Vucic prefers early elections to cabinet reshuffle

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic confirmed on Thursday that early parliamentary elections are possible in 2016.

Source: B92

Addressing a news conference in Belgrade, he noted there was "only one reason" not to go to the polls - the possibility that this might slow down the country's reforms.

Vucic said that "if someone wants a sizable reshuffle, or to make a program through 2020, then elections are the better option."

The prime minister's desire to replace several ministers was also indicated in his answer when B92's reporter asked why his party, the SNS, would want elections, considering it has a majority in parliament in its own right, and room to make any political decision.

"Politics is not mathematics, it is a mistake of many people to think so. Politics is life, morality, work, psychology, atmosphere, and never mathematics. Do you think it is important whether the party of Velja Ilic or some other party will have five or eight deputies (in the assembly)? It is not. If the atmosphere in society is such that there are constant pressures, if the government needs fresh blood, if there should be a reshuffle for the sake of five ministers, then it would be torture, a political showdown that would last five or six months. When you see there is no stability because pressure is being put on that stability each day, if the opposition speaks every day about catastrophes, dictatorship, censorship, then I think it is democratic to put it to a test," Vucic said.

Asked whether he agrees with the statement that the Serbian president does not support the holding of a referendum in the RS, Vucic said:

"I said it in front of (RS President) Milorad Dodik last year and reiterated recently that I will not change my stance, but also that Serbia will not put pressure on the policy in another country. It is yet another topic that the government and the president of Serbia are discussing."

He reiterated he would consult the president of Serbia and his ruling SNS party before making a final decision on early elections. Vucic did not confirm that he yesterday met with Nikolic and said he would "not talk about something that has not been announced."

Vucic also stated he was "not afraid to lose his job and does not deal with party matters."

According to him, it will be up to the opposition to decide whether to join forces. He also remarked that "even those who do not hold the same opinion on the same issues are joining together."

The prime minister said that the Hague Tribunal would receive a report about the warrant for the arrest of three officials of the SRS party charged with contempt of court because they threatened, intimidated, offered a bribe and otherwise influenced witnesses in the case against SRS leader Vojislav Seselj.

Asked whether, if elections are called, Defense Minister Bratislav Gasic will remain in office until they are held, Vucic said he was "true to his word and will keep his promise" that the minister, who insulted a female journalist with a sexist remark, would leave office in January.

Vucic said he thinks he has a good relationship with the media, and is "answering all their questions" while the only thing he wants is "the right to think for himself." He said the atmosphere in the country was one of "going from one lie to another," while the public was occupying itself with "nonsense" - because some individuals lost their privileges and "a chance to engage in corruption."

Vucic also that 2016 will be better than the previous two years, and that the first goal of Serbia is to preserve peace and stability in the country and in the region at a time when relations in the region, Europe and worldwide "are not easy."

The second objective is to improve the economy- something he described as "much more important and something that should be talked about, while ignoring the saber-rattling."

The news conference today was briefly interrupted when a reporter collapsed.


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