2020 Serbian parliamentary election

2020 Serbian parliamentary election
Serbia
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All 250 seats in the National Assembly
126 seats needed for a majority
Turnout 48.88%
Party Leader % Seats ±
SNS coalition Aleksandar Vučić 63.02 188 +59
SPSJS Ivica Dačić 10.78 32 +3
SPAS Aleksandar Šapić 3.98 11 New
VMSZ István Pásztor 2.32 9 +5
SSPDPM Muamer Zukorlić 1.04 4 +2
ADA Shaip Kamberi 0.85 3 +2
SDA S Sulejman Ugljanin 0.80 3 +1
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
Prime Minister before
Ana Brnabić
SNS

Parliamentary elections were held in Serbia on 21 June 2020.[1] Initially organised for 26 April 2020,[2] they were postponed by a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.[3]

In the period before the elections, inter-party European Parliament–mediated dialogue wаs held and certain changes in election legislation were made. Numerous parliamentary and non-parliamentary political parties boycotted the elections, including the major opposition coalition Alliance for Serbia, which said that there were no conditions for free and fair elections. This resulted in the lowest turnout since the establishment of a multi-party system in 1990.[4] The Serbian Progressive Party–led coalition won one of the largest parliamentary majorities in Europe.

Election observer organizations declared that the elections were conducted efficiently according to minimum democratic standards, but noted some irregularities that affected turnout and results. The OSCE reported that many previous recommendations of the ODIHR were not adopted, at the same time criticizing the lack of freedom in the media.

Background

Since Aleksandar Vučić came to power in 2012, Serbia has suffered from democratic backsliding into authoritarianism, followed by a decline in media freedom and civil liberties.[5][6] In the 2016 parliamentary election, the ruling parties—the Serbian Progressive Party-led coalition and the Socialist Party of Serbia-led coalition—were returned to power, and incumbent Prime Minister Vučić was re-elected. However, in the 2017 presidential election, Vučić was elected president, and left the government for his new position. The election result sparked protests around Serbia. Thousands of protesters accused Vučić of leading the country towards authoritarianism.[7] An OSCE report criticized unbalanced media coverage during the election campaign, use of public resources to support Vučić and reports of pressure on employees of state-affiliated institutions to support Vučić and secure, in a cascade fashion, support from family members and friends.[8] Ana Brnabić was appointed head of government as a non-partisan politician, becoming Serbia's first female and first openly gay Prime Minister.[9] Two years later, she joined the ruling Serbian Progressive Party.[10]

In January 2019, Vučić repeated that there was a possibility of holding early elections 'sometime during 2019'[citation needed]. Observers noted that this was highly likely, as it would enable the SNS to make electoral gains before having to compromise on unpopular decisions regarding the status of Kosovo, which is expected to hit the party's rating.[11]

In May 2019, the European Commission criticized election conditions and expressed a serious concern about press freedom in the Serbia 2019 Report.[12] They also stated that there was a negative impact on the work of democratic institutions, in particular the National Assembly, and there was an urgent need to create space for genuine cross-party debate and conditions for meaningful participation by the opposition in the parliament.[12]

Anti-government protests

Meanwhile, Vučić was also put under pressure by peaceful protests in Belgrade and other cities, with the opposition demanding more media freedom, as well as free and fair elections and ministerial resignations. The protests were precipitated by an assault on Borko Stefanović, one of the leaders of the newly formed opposition coalition Alliance for Serbia.[13] These were the largest anti-government protests since Vučić came to power in 2012, with media reports estimating the attendance at protests to be between 25,000 and 70,000 people.[14] Parallel to the protests, Vučić launched the "Future of Serbia” campaign, organizing rallies in all districts of Serbia.[15]

After the largest opposition protest on 13 April, a non-partisan expert group was introduced that later formulated the demands of the protests, concluded there were no conditions for free and fair elections, and eventually drafted a comprehensive document with demands and recommendations.[16][17][18] In early September, the protest organizers called for a boycott of the coming election because no recommendation of the expert team was adopted.[19]

Inter-party negotiations

After the unsuccessful conclusion of the negotiations mediated by the University of Belgrade Faculty of Political Sciences and NGOs, the first round of inter-party European Parliament-mediated dialogue in Serbia took place in October, which was initiated by David McAllister, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the EP.[20] The Alliance for Serbia refused to participate, stating that there was no time for their demands for fair election conditions to be met before the election in April.[20] In December 2019, following three rounds of dialogue, the EP delegation members announced that conditions for fair and free elections had not been established.[21] After the last round, it was concluded that continued observation of implementation was necessary and it was agreed to move the election as late as possible.[22]

The CeSID stated that changes in electoral legislation on three occasions during the election year were contrary to the Venice Commission's Code of Good Practice in Elections.[23] The decision of the ruling party to lower the electoral threshold from 5% to 3% has been criticized by numerous observers, opposition parties, EP delegation members and Transparency Serbia, stating that it was not a topic of negotiation and that it will help some smaller parties enter parliament after the announced boycott of the largest opposition parties.[24][25][26][27]

Participating parties

After the 2017 presidential elections, Saša Janković, who finished second with 16.3% of the vote, formed the centre-left Movement of Free Citizens (PSG) in May 2017.[28][29] In October 2017, Vuk Jeremić, who finished fourth with 5.6% of the vote, formed his own centre-right People's Party (NS), which cooperates closely with Janković's party.[30][31]

In June 2018, opposition parties held talks on forming an alliance, which became possible with the election of leadership in the Democratic Party, which is in favor of allying with Dragan Đilas (who was very successful in Belgrade local election) and the PSG and NS. This alliance of mostly pro-Western and pro-EU parties will include other opposition organizations, regardless of their stance on EU, including Dveri, an anti-EU party.[32] The opposition alliance is dubbed by the media and main participants in its formation as Alliance for Serbia (Serbian: Savez sa Srbiju - SZS).

Boycott

Almost all opposition parties (except Democratic Party of Serbia, Serbian Patriotic Alliance and Don't let Belgrade d(r)own) signed Agreement with People in February 2019, where they promised to boycott the 2020 elections if they were deemed irregular.[33] In addition, in September 2019, the protest organizers called for a boycott of the next election.[34]

The elections were boycotted by several political parties, including the major opposition coalition the Alliance for Serbia (composed of the Democratic Party, Dveri, People's Party, Party of Freedom and Justice, Movement for Reversal, Fatherland and the United Trade Unions "Sloga"), the Civic Platform, as well some extra-parliamentary parties and movements, such as Social Democratic Union and the Do not let Belgrade d(r)own-led Civic Front alliance, which stated that the elections would not be held under fair conditions.[35][36] Together for Serbia and the Social Democratic Party, also boycotted the parliamentary election, only participating in some elections at the local (municipal) level. Some individual politicians also declared a boycott, such as Đorđe Vukadinović, member of the National Assembly, and Ljubiša Preletačević, who finished third in the 2017 presidential election.[37][38]

Electoral system

The 250 members of the National Assembly are elected by closed-list proportional representation from a single nationwide constituency. Seats are allocated using the d'Hondt method with an electoral threshold of 3% of all votes cast (lowered from 5% at the previous elections)[39] although the threshold is waived for ethnic minority parties.[40]

While some parties choose to contest elections solely in their own name, multi-party coalitions are more common. This allows smaller parties to reach the electoral threshold together, while for larger parties it represents an opportunity to amass support from more diverse sections of the electorate.

Electoral lists

The following are the official electoral lists published by the Republic Electoral Commission (RIK).[41]

Ballot number Ballot name Ballot carrier Note Political position
1
Aleksandar VučićFor Our Children[42][43]
Serbian Progressive Party, Social Democratic Party of Serbia, Movement of Socialists, Party of United Pensioners of Serbia, Strength of Serbia Movement, Serbian People's Party, Serbian Renewal Movement, People's Peasant Party
Branislav Nedimović Big tent
2
Ivica Dačić – "Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), United Serbia (JS) – Dragan Marković Palma"[44][45]
Socialist Party of Serbia, United Serbia, Communist Party, Greens of Serbia[46]
Ivica Dačić Big tent
3 Dr Vojislav Šešelj — Serbian Radical Party[47][48]
Serbian Radical Party
Vojislav Šešelj Right-wing to far-right
4 Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians — István Pásztor[47][49]
Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians
Bálint Pásztor M Centre-right
5 Aleksandar Šapić — Victory for Serbia[50]
Serbian Patriotic Alliance
Aleksandar Šapić Centre-right to right-wing
6 For Kingdom of Serbia (Movement for the Restoration of the Kingdom of Serbia, Monarchist Front) — Žika Gojković[51][52]
Movement for the Restoration of the Kingdom of Serbia, Monarchist Front, Monarchist Movement of Serbia
Ljubinko Ćurković Right-wing
7 United Democratic Serbia[53]
Serbia 21, Party of Modern Serbia, Civic Democratic Forum, League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina, Vojvodina's Party, Montenegrin Party, Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina, Together for Vojvodina, Union of Romanians of Serbia
Marko Đurišić Centre to centre-left
8 Academician Muamer Zukorlić - Straight Ahead - Justice and Reconciliation Party - Democratic Party of Macedonians[54]
Justice and Reconciliation Party, Democratic Party of Macedonians
Muamer Zukorlić M Right-wing
9 BROOM 2020[55]
Democratic Party of Serbia, Movement of the Indigenous of Kraljevo, Team for Life, Human Shield
Miloš Jovanović Centre-right to right-wing
10 Milan Stamatović - May The Health Win - Dragan Jovanović - Better Serbia - Healthy Serbia[56]
Healthy Serbia, Better Serbia, Together for Šumadija
Milan Stamatović Right-wing
11 SDA of Sandžak - Dr Sulejman Ugljanin[57]
Party of Democratic Action of Sandžak
Enis Imamović M Right-wing
12 Milica Đurđević Stamenkovski — Serbian Party Oathkeepers[58]
Serbian Party Oathkeepers
Zoran Zečević Far-right
13 People's Bloc - Velimir Ilić - General Momir Stojanović[59]
New Serbia, People's Freedom Movement
Velimir Ilić Right-wing
14 Sergej Trifunović — Movement of Free Citizens[60]
Movement of Free Citizens
Sergej Trifunović Centre to centre-left
15 The Souverainistes[61]
Enough is Enough
Saša Radulović Centre to centre-right
16 Albanian Democratic Alternative - United Valley[61]
Party for Democratic Action, Alternative for Change, Democratic Party, Reform Movement, Democratic Progress Movement
Shaip Kamberi M Centre-right
17 Group of Citizens: 1 of 5 million [62]
1 of 5 million
Valentina Reković Big tent
18 May the Masks Fall - Green Party - New Party[63]
Green Party, New Party
Zoran Živković Centre to centre-left
19 Russian Party — Slobodan Nikolić[64]
Russian Party
Slobodan Nikolić Right-wing
20 Čedomir Jovanović — Coalition for Peace[64]
Liberal Democratic Party, Tolerance of Serbia, Bosniak Civil Party, Vlach People's Party, Liberal Democratic Movement of Vojvodina, Association of Yugoslavs in Serbia, Action Network of Associations and Roma Organizations, Party of Montenegrins, Association of Citizens "Romanians of Homolje", Skaska
Čedomir Jovanović Centre
21 Leviathan Movement - I live for Serbia[65]
Leviathan Movement, I live for Serbia
Jovana Stojković Far-right

MNational minority list

Opinion polls

The highest percentage figure in each polling survey is displayed in bold, and the background shaded in the leading party's color. In the instance that there is a tie, then no figure is shaded. The lead column on the right shows the percentage-point difference between the two parties with the highest figures. When a specific poll does not show a data figure for a party, the party's cell corresponding to that poll is shown with a hyphen (-). If a poll was conducted prior to the establishment of a party, a hyphen is given instead of the result. Poll results use the date the fieldwork was done, as opposed to the date of publication. However, if such a date is unknown, the date of publication will be given instead.

The results of the SNS in different polls represent results of the party itself, although it usually runs in a broad coalition, which includes, besides SNS as the largest party, Social Democratic Party of Serbia, Party of United Pensioners of Serbia, New Serbia, Serbian Renewal Movement, Movement of Socialists, Strength of Serbia Movement, Independent Democratic Party of Serbia and Serbian People's Party. SPS formed a longstanding coalition with United Serbia, included in SPS poll results. All polls are conducted excluding Kosovo.

Polls conducted after official start of campaign

Polling Organization Date SNS
coalition
SPS
JS
SRS DJB DSS
coalition
SPAS PSG #1of5m S21-SMS-
LSV-GDF
POKS Zavetnici Others Lead
Ipsos 19 June 58.6 9.8 2.5 2.5 1.8 4.4 3.1 2.2 1.6 2.4 1.6 9.5 48.8
Faktor plus 18 June 60.6 13.0 3.6 2.9 3.1 5.1 3.5 2.8 2.5 2.7 0.2 45.5
NSPM 18 June 58.0 12.5 2.6 2.9 3.5 4.4 3.5 0.9 1.4 1.8 1.8 6.7 45.5
Faktor plus 12 June 58.2 12.5 3.4 2.8 3.0 4.9 3.4 2.7 2.4 2.6 45.7
Faktor plus 7 June 61.0 13.5 3.3 2.6 3.1 4.9 3.6 1.3 2.4 2.1 2.2 45.2
NSPM 4 June 41.6 10.7 2.6 2.1 2.1 4.3 3.8 1.0 1.0 1.0 2.1 25.8[a] 30.9
NSPM 24 April 57.6 11.9 2.7 1.1 2.5 2.2 1.3 2.2 18.5[b] 45.7
Election postponed due to coronavirus pandemic
Faktor plus 09 Mar 59.8 15.1 3.5 3 4.8 2.5 2.8 3 2.1 2.3 1.1 44.7

Polls conducted before official start of campaign
[b] (+italic): denotes parties and coalitions which declared boycott of the election.

Results

The ruling Aleksandar Vučić — For Our Children alliance, led by the Serbian Progressive Party, won a supermajority of seats and 60.65% of the vote amid an opposition boycott.

Parlementserbe2020.svg
Electoral list Votes % Seats +/–
For Our Children (SNSSDPPSPUPSPSSSNPSPONSS) 1,953,998 63.02 188 +57
Socialist Party of SerbiaUnited Serbia 334,333 10.78 32 +3
Serbian Patriotic Alliance 123,393 3.98 11 New
For the Kingdom of Serbia 85,888 2.77 0 –1
Enough is Enough 73,953 2.39 0 –16
Broom 2020 72,085 2.32 0 –6
Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians 71,893 2.32 9 +3
Serbian Radical Party 65,954 2.13 0 –22
Movement of Free Citizens 50,765 1.64 0 New
Serbian Party Oathkeepers 45,950 1.48 0 0
Health for the Victory (ZSBS) 33,435 1.08 0 New
Straight Ahead (SPPDPM) 32,170 1.04 4 +2
United Democratic Serbia (S21SMSGDFLSVVPDSHVCP) 30,591 0.99 0 –11
Albanian Democratic Alternative 26,437 0.85 3 +2
Party of Democratic Action of Sandžak 24,676 0.80 3 +1
Leviathan 22,691 0.73 0 New
1 of 5 million 20,265 0.65 0 New
Coalition for Peace 10,158 0.33 0 –4
People's Bloc (NSNSP) 7,873 0.25 0 –5
May the Masks Fall (ZSNS) 7,805 0.25 0 –2
Russian Party 6,295 0.20 0 0
Invalid/blank votes 118,155
Total 3,218,763 100 250 0
Registered voters/turnout 6,584,376 48.88
Source: RIK

Aftermath

Reactions

The election observer organization CRTA described that the elections "have met a minimum of the democratic standards, but they imperil democracy".[66] They recorded twice as many irregularities and incidents than in the previous elections, stating that the irregularities could have influenced the results and that turnout would have been about 45% without them.[4][66] The CeSID reported that the elections respected basic human rights, but the political competition was limited due to the opposition boycott and the unclear distinction of party activities from the public officials' activities.[23] The period of the state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was called the “campaign before the campaign”, was strongly criticized.[23] They noted irregularities, including serious ones such as parallel voter lists, the pressure to vote at all levels of elections, the presence of unauthorized persons at polling stations, conflicts at and in front of polling stations.[23]

The OSCE announced in preliminary findings and conclusions that elections were conducted efficiently, despite the challenges of the pandemic, but that the concern was caused by the dominance of the ruling party, including in the media.[67] They noted that many previous recommendations of the ODIHR had not been adopted, including on election administration, media, campaign financing, and sanctions for electoral violations.[67] However, some recommendations were adopted, but "key amendments were passed in a swift manner and without prior consultations, limiting the inclusiveness of the process".[67] Furthermore, the OSCE noted the lack of diversity of political opinions in traditional media and attacks or pressure on critical journalists and media outlets as well as possible meshing of the ruling party's campaign and media coverage of the response to the COVID-19 crisis.[67]

Political scientist Florian Bieber stated that the Serbian Progressive Party overtook the United Russia party to become "the largest ruling party majority in Europe after Belarus" and that the European Union cannot pretend that a "farce of an election" did not happen in Serbia.[68] The president of the European People's Party, Donald Tusk, as well as Sebastian Kurz, the Chancellor of Austria, and Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary, congratulated Vučić on his victory.[69] Kati Piri, the vice-chair of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group, said that the election was not representative and that she is afraid "it won't change the erosion of the rule of law in the country", adding that "it should not be possible in a candidate country to the European Union".[70] Tanja Fajon, the chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Serbia, stated that "the level of democracy has deteriorated significantly, let alone the situation of media freedom", citing that the absence of parliamentary opposition calls into question the legitimacy of parliament.[70]

Repeat elections

The Republic Electoral Commission announced that ballots from 234 voting locations would be terminated and elections would be repeated at those locations on July 1.[71] Due to the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic in Serbia, CRTA announced that it would not be observing the repeat elections.[72]

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