Alliance for Serbia refuses dialogue with government, wants direct talks with EP

European flags in front of EP Building in Strasbourg; Photo: European Union

BELGRADE – In an official statement, the biggest opposition coalition the Alliance for Serbia welcomed the engagement of the European Parliament representatives in Serbia but also announced that it is not ready for the dialogue facilitated by former MEPs Eduard Kukan and Knut Fleckenstein, set to take place this week.

“We welcome EP’s engagement and are ready to talk with its representatives about the situation in Serbia, as well as the implementation of the demands of the Team of Experts for establishment of democratic elections, which must be implemented at least nine months before the election”, the statement of the Alliance reads.

However, it is emphasised that the Alliance is not ready for any negotiations with the government on election scheduled for spring 2020, because it is too late for such talks.

Kukan and Fleckenstein will be moderating the dialogue between ruling and opposition parties in Serbia on 9 and 10 October, following the initiative taken by AFET Chair and former Rapporteur for Serbia David McAllister.

The Alliance for Serbia, which is the only opposition coalition projected to have more than 10% support among the voters, has already announced the boycott of the 2020 parliamentary election and entered the “campaign for boycott” this week.

In February this year, the Alliance pledged not to participate in an election lacking conditions for free and fair conduct, accusing the government of the Serbian Progressive Party of undemocratic election practices. A Team of Experts – journalists, lawyers and political scientists – was later formed, with the task of drafting the demands that will lead to establishment of fair conditions.

From July to September, Open Society Foundation Serbia and the Faculty of Political Science held a series of roundtable discussions between the ruling and opposition parties, but the Alliance refused to participate in the last several meetings, citing the unwillingness of the government to sincerely commit to reforms.

McAllister: Boycott is not a sustainable solution

David McAllister; Photo: Tanjug / Sava Radovanović

In an interview for Blic, AFET Chair David McAllister stated that political actors must urgently find a solution for the current situation and that a boycott can hardly be qualified as a sustainable democratic solution.

“Our proposal was to facilitate the cross-party dialogue, the sides will have to reach a consensus on the steps they want to take in order to improve the conditions for the work of parliament and for the parliamentary election to take place”, he said.

According to him, the only resolution of the current deadlock can be a new parliament, the legitimacy and the strength of which will depend on efforts of all political actors to establish the conditions for democratic elections.