“Obradovic and Dveri don’t stand a chance of taking over the protests. If this happens, the protests will collapse”, states Srđan Cvijić, senior policy analyst on EU external relations at the Open Society European Policy Institute and BiEPAG member, for EWB.
Even though it could seem that, during the recent incursion into the building of Serbia’s public broadcaster (RTS), right-wing leader Boško Obradović was rising in prominence, Cvijić emphasises that he and his party do not represent the majority of the participants.
“According to a recent opinion poll commissioned by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Serbia amongst the participants of the protests in Belgrade, only 4,2% of citizens protesting support Dveri”, he reminds.
In his view, radicalization of the protests, as the RTS events showed, hurts the protests because it is alienating the more moderate silent majority.
What might also hurt the opposition is the fact that it does not have a clear stance towards EU integrations, says Cvijić. Despite some meetings between several leaders of the coalition “Alliance for Serbia” (SzS) and some EU officials and MEPs, the position towards the Union remains vague.
“I think that the ambiguous attitude towards the EU doesn’t favour more moderate parts of the SzS but only right wing groups such as Dveri. This is why I think it is in the interest of the moderates to intensify cooperation with their EU counterparts and be more vocal in support of Serbia’s EU integration”, Cvijić is unambiguous.
He believes that, in general, the silent majority in Serbia, despite the overwhelming perception that the EU is siding with the President and ruling party, would not support an overtly anti-EU political options.
This is why being anti-EU is a lose–lose situation in the medium long run, Cvijić concludes. “It is also important to note that SzS represents only a minority of the people protesting”, he adds.
The leadership of the protests in Serbia still remains disputed. In the first few weeks, the attending citizens were exclusively addressed by prominent public figures not affiliated with any political party, while opposition members were only present at the events.
Recently, however, more and more opposition politicians are speaking at the protests across the country, the main political force supporting these events being SzS, a broad coalition of parties that includes Dveri.