European Western Balkans

Opposition in Serbia: The Assembly has no legitimacy for constitutional changes

National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia; Photo: Wikimedia Commons

BELGRADE – The current National Assembly in Serbia has no legitimacy to discuss changes to the highest legal act because it is almost deprived of the opposition, opposition party officials said for Danas, commenting on the announcement of National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dačić that dialogue and discussion on constitutional changes will begin on April 16.

Constitutional reforms in the field of the judiciary have been one of the most important rule of law reforms Serbia needs to undertake in its EU integration process, but the original 2017 deadline has long passed. The new Assembly, elected in June 2020, has no viable opposition due to the boycott of the majority of opposition parties.

These parties now assess that the announcements of the Prime Minister and Assembly Speaker about the beginning of work on constitutional changes by the current convocation of the Assembly “constituted on the basis of illegitimate elections” are not acceptable.

Opposition parties, including Democractic Party (DS), the Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP), “Don’t Let Belgrade Drown” and Movement of Free Citizens (PSG) stressed that a parliament without opposition representatives does not reflect the real political will of citizens and does not have the capacity to decide on constitutional changes.

“We believe that the process of changing the highest legal act can be carried out only in a democratic procedure, with the participation of all relevant representatives of citizens, which is absolutely impossible with the current government and the current composition of the Assembly,” the group of pro-European opposition organizations concluded.

Boško Obradović, the leader of right-wing Dveri, said for Danas that it is absolutely unacceptable that the current false and undemocratic Assembly without opposition is considering any change to the Constitution.

“First of all, it is necessary to ensure free and fair elections, so only a new and democratic parliamentary convocation can initiate a dialogue on whether we need a change in the Constitution at all and what kind. Dačić has not been able to respond to my request for consultations on starting a dialogue between the government and the opposition for four months, let alone to change the Constitution. Although everything is possible when it comes to the constitutional violators in power”, Obradović told.

The Vice President of the People’s Party, Miroslav Aleksić assessed that there is no discussion or dialogue in such an Assembly, because the Assembly does not exist, but it has become a body for training young cadres of the regime, attacks on the opposition and praises Vučić.

“Important matters, such as constitutional changes, must not be discussed or decided in this assembly without opposition, which arose after the fraudulent elections. If there is even a shred of responsibility of this government, it should wait for new elections that must be held as soon as possible and under different conditions so that all parties can participate in them, and then discuss constitutional amendments”, Aleksić said.

However, apart from the delay, the experts emphasized that there is a problem of material nature and that the amendments prepared by the Government will not ensure the independence of the judiciary.

Read more: Constitutional changes in Serbia lead to the loss of judicial independence


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