On 16 March 2014 Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) won 48.4% of the seats in parliament. Next to them, only three parties surpassed the threshold of 5%: Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) 13.5%, Democratic Party (DS) 6% and the coalition around former President Boris Tadić 5,7%. The current president Tomislav Nikolić, former leader of SNS, is in power since May 2012. On the 1st of March 2012 Serbia obtained the candidate status for the EU after the submission for its application in December 2009. Serbia has made progress in meeting the political criteria and addressing key European Partnership priorities in the last years.
EU candidate status
After ten rounds of talks between in April 2013 Belgrade and Pristina signed a historic deal mediated by Brussels, normalizing relations, opening their way towards EU integration and granting Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo broad powers in education, health care and spatial planning. The implementation of the deal on the ground remains a major challenge. The agreement had positive effects for Serbia and Kosovo with regard to the EU integration. Serbia opened the accession negotiations, while Kosovo signed its first agreement with the EU that should lead to the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
As a result of the breakthrough with Kosovo, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Serbia entered into force in September 2013. Three months later the Council adopted the negotiating framework, wherefore Serbia could hold the first Intergovernmental Conference on 21 January 2014. This date marks the formal start of the accession negotiations.
Early parliamentary elections
On 30 January 2014 Serbian president Tomislav Nikolić called early parliamentary elections. According to the president “Serbia shall certainly get a government with more energy and enthusiasm and released from problems that this government has solved.” The coalition government, SNS is the main party, explained its request for early elections by the need to ensure ‘as wide as possible support for accelerated reforms and modernization of Serbia’. However, the fact that SNS was skyrocketing in all polls (above 40%) is considered as crucial factor for SNS to go to the polls and having its leader Aleksandar Vučić return as Prime Minister.
Former President formed new party in 2014
On 30 January 2014 former President of Serbia Boris Tadić resigned as honorary president of the Democratic Party (DS), splitting the vote on the center-left. Tadić said he decided to leave because of disagreements with the direction in which the Democrats were heading under the new leadership. DS was at that moment looking for a potential coalition with the New Party (Nova Stranka) led by Zoran Živković, a former member of the DS who has accused Tadić of being a mafia lord. After his resignation Tadić started his own party: New Democratic party (NDS). In early 2014 the NDS signed a political cooperation with the Greens and therefore have a new name: NDS-Z. With this party Tadić and the League of Social Democrats of Vojvoodina (LSV) Tadić won enough votes in the parliamentary elections of 2014 to pass the threshold.
Parliamentary elections 16 march 2014
On 16 march nineteen electoral lists competed for 250 members of the National Assembly. The election was called early, after tensions in the coalition led by SNS and Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), who ruled the country since 2012. President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić (SNS) scheduled the election at the same time as previously announced Belgrade local election. The turnout was 53.09%. Next to the SNS and SPS only two parties surpassed the threshold.
Women are still underrepresented in parliament. The inclusion of female candidates on party and coalition lists is stimulated by the requirement that every fourth candidate and no less than 30% of the candidates appearing on an electoral list must belong to the less-represented gender. However, the provision of the Law on the Election of Representatives (LER) that allows political parties and coalitions to choose which candidates from their lists become members of parliament after the election, without regard to the order in which they were originally represented on the list, combined with a failure to extend the gender provision to the actual distribution of mandates, in fact renders this provision ineffective.
Results parliamentary elections 16 march 2014
Seats in parliament
Serbian Progressive Party (SNS)
Socialist party of Serbia (SPS)
Democratic Party (DS)
New Democratic Party (NDS)
Presidential election 20 May 2012
On 20 May 2012 SNS leader Tomislav Nikolić won the presidential runoff against the leader of the Democrats Boris Tadić in the second round of the presidential elections. It was predicted that Tadić would win as he was leading in polls and came out first in the first round. According to the preliminary results of the Center for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID, Tomislav Nikolić won 49.8% and Boris Tadić 47%. CeSID Program Director Marko Blagojević told at a press conference that a total voter turnout had been 46.3%, which is less than in any elections since 2004. Only in Vojvodina Tadić gained more votes – 52.2%, while Nikolić got 44.2% of the vote. Outgoing President Tadić served as Serbia's president for two mandates since 2004.
Democratic Party (DS)
The Democratic Party (DS) was officially founded in 1990 by a group of Serbian intellectuals as a revival of the original Yugoslav Democratic Party. It was the first opposition party to the presidency of Slobodan Milošević during the 1990s. In the 2003 parliamentary elections DS became the third largest party in the Serbian parliament with 37 of 250 seats. The party stayed out of the government, but its role in opposition was an essential one, counter forcing against the dominant extreme nationalist forces of SPS and SRS and providing for necessary majorities on reform proposals. The DS is a firm supporter of Serbia’s integration into the European Union and co-operation with the ICTY. Concerning Kosovo, they stress the importance of the standards before the status. For some time it was unclear in what direction the party would head, but now the party adopted a social democratic orientation, seeking contact with parties of the social democratic family all over Europe and officially confirming it on the party congress.
Former DS leader and Serb President Boris Tadić quit the party in 2014. He was not content with the direction in which the Democrats were heading under the leadership of Dragan Djilas. He is the party leader since 2012. Coalition around DS holds 19 seats in parliament, down from 67 seats in the 2012 elections
Party leader: Dragan Djilas
League of Social Democrats in Vojvodina (LSV)
The LSV is a multi-ethnic, anti-nationalist, anti-war, social democratic party in Vojvodina. Since the founding of the party, the LSV has opposed all discrimination on ethnic or any other ground.
The LSV strives for an autonomous, multi-ethnic, and democratic Vojvodina, to be reached through decentralization and ‘denationalization’ of Serbia. In 2008, LSV formed a pre-election coalition with the DS, G17 Plus and some minority parties. In the parliamentary elections of 2014 LSV signed a coalition agreement with Tadić’s NDS and Together for Serbia (ZZS).
The LSV has no status in the Socialist International.
Party leader: Nenad Čanak
Social Democratic Union (SDU)
The SDU was formed in May 1998 after a split in the Civic Alliance. The party became one of the most progressive anti-nationalist parties and adopted a social democratic orientation. The lack of personal involvement in the war of the SDU leaders gave credibility abroad among western social democrats, but the pro-Western attitude of the SDU simultaneously guaranteed it a place on the margin of everyday politics in Serbia. The SDU took a firm stance against nationalism and the war politics of the Serbian and Yugoslav governments. The SDU struggles for respect of human and civil rights for all ethnic groups. These standings are highly controversial in Serbia, making the party’s position marginal. On 20 April 2002 the SDU and Social democracy (SD) merged into the Social Democratic Party of Serbia (SDS.) On the second congress in May 2003 of this new party Slobodan Orlic was elected as the leader of the SDS. As a result of internal and personal differences, former leader of SDU, Žarko Korać re-established SDU. The fact that SDU became a member of DOS again and that Korać remained Deputy Prime Minister in the previous government guaranteed SDU of the necessary power, to re-establish the party. However, analysts now see that the party’s position is weak. The party has friendly relations particularly with the founded Liberal Democratic Party, Civic Alliance and the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina.
The SDU holds no seats in parliament and has no status in the Socialist International.
Party-leader: Žarko Korać
New Democratic Party-Greens (NDS-Z)
In January 2014 Boris Tadić left the DS and formed his own leftist New Democratic Party (NDP). Tadić’s original plan was to form a political cooperation with the League of Social Democrats in Vojvodina (LSV) and Together for Serbia (ZZS) in order to pass the threshold. After the 2014 elections NDS merged with the Green Party The two parties have a new statute, program and name: NDS-Greens (NDS-Z). The Greens of Serbia advocate environmental and ecological wisdom, social justice and solidarity, direct democracy, green economics, sustainability, respect for diversity and human rights, and prevention of all forms of violence. The party has observer status in the Global Greens and in the European Green Party. NDS-Z holds 18 seats in parliament.
Party leader: Boris Tadić
Social Democratic Party of Serbia (SDPS)
In October 2009 the newly established Social Democratic Party of Serbia (SDPS) was presented to the media. The main aim of the party is Serbia’s accession to the European Union, the preservation of territorial integrity of the country, regionalization of Serbia and the reduction of state administration. Furthermore, it is of crucial importance to increase the living standards of the people. The main slogan of SDPS is “only the people”. On 12 December 2009 the statutes of the party were adopted by the first Party Congress which welcomed leaders of social democratic parties from the region. Rasim Ljajic was elected as the leader of the party. In the past the first strategic partner of the party was the Democratic Party, followed by the Socialist Party of Serbia. The party wanted to establish close relations with the S&D Group and other social democratic parties in the region. In 2012 the party joined the SNS led coalition with Ljajic as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Policy. In 2014 the party formed a pre-elections coalition with SNS.
Party leader: Rasim Ljajic
Serbian Progressive Party (SNS)
The SNS was formed as a group of breakaway MPs in the parliament from the Serbian Radical Party (SRS). The party was registered on 10 October 2008. The SNS is a center-right, conservative party. Deputy leader at that time, Aleksandar Vučić, said that the new party's goal will be to ‘fight for a higher standard of living, combat against crime and corruption, and beat the regime of Boris Tadić and Ivica Dačić.” Preserving the country's territorial integrity, according to him, will also be one of the SNS goals, while the party will have “a clear opposition stance.” Currently the party does not have a opposition stance anymore: since 2012 SNS Tomislav Nikolić is president and in the parliamentary elections of 2014 SNS got almost half of the votes and, due to the electoral system in Serbia, an absolute majority in the parliament (157 out of 250 seats in the National Assembly).
Under the leadership of Vucic relations with Kosovo were normalised, EU accession negotiation kicked off and generally speaking Vucic is perceived as a successful fighter against corruption and organised crime. Not a small part of Serbian electorate believes that when Vucic promises something, it will happen. At the same time the opposition is accusing the SNS increasingly controlling the media and destroying their political opponents through tabloid propaganda by simply calling them criminals or prosecuting them without clear evidence.
Party leader: Aleksandar Vučić
Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS)
The SPS was founded in 1990 by Slobodan Milosevic and is the successor to the League of Communists. Under his rule the party controlled state property, police and media, and where the SPS lost power, the party of his wife Mira Marković, Yugoslav Left (JUL) stepped in to fill the vacuum. In 2000 it was defeated by DOS and after massive street demonstrations Milosevic had to step down.
Until his death on Slobodan Milosevic formally remained the leader of the party, while he was in The Hague, being on trail before the ICTY. Meanwhile, Ivica Dačić headed the steering committee and profiled himself as the most prominent leader.
In parliamentary election of 2008 the SPS and the Party of United Pensioners of Serbia (PUPS) strengthened their links by forming a coalition, on which United Serbia and Movement of Veterans of Serbia were present. The coalition won 20 seats with 7.58% of the votes. SPS and its coalition partners entered post-election coalition with For a European Serbia and formed a government. By entering a pro-European coalition with DS, SPS saved the country from a right wing radical coalition. In 2014 the party became the second biggest in parliament (13,5%), therefore Ivica Dačić cannot hold his Prime Minister position.
The SPS wants to join the Socialist International. However there is still some opposition within Socialist International to inviting the SPS, notably from the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Party leader: Ivica Dačić
Tomislav Nikolić describes himself as a moderate nationalist, but has a more radical past. After losing the presidential election in both 2004 and 2008 against Boris Tadić, Nikolić was elected President in 2012. Nikolić comes from a workers family and started his political career in the early 90s in the People’s Radical Party which on Nikolić initiative merged with the Serbian Chetnik Movement into the Serbian Radical Party (SRS). He quickly climbed the ladder up to vice-president of the SRS, a far-right nationalist party. The party was led in the 90s by Vojislav Šešelj, who stands trial in the Hague Tribunal for alleged war crimes. In 2008 Nikolić left the SRS and started the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), after a dispute between him Šešelj. Nikolić had become in favour of Serbia joining the EU, while Šešelj remained firmly opposed. In 2012 Nikolić stepped down as leader of the SNS as he became president. While Nikolić firmly states to be in favour of EU accession, critics call on his nationalistic past and position towards Russia. Nikolić wishes to intensify ties with Moscow and aims for Serbia as a country within the EU that will support Russia. “On the one hand I support the membership in the EU but at the same time as a politician I intend to do everything to develop relations with Russia,” Nikolić stated.
Until 2008 Nikolić was known to be a supporter of a Greater Serbia, although he was not in favour of any imperialistic politics he stated in 2004 that this would remain ‘a dream’ for him and other leaders of the radical party. A few days before the 2012 elections, Nikolić stated that the territorial integrity of neighbouring countries cannot be questioned and that his former opinions were no longer valid. Many controversies continue to follow Nikolić and his role during the war in 90s, among them his refusal to apologize for stating "I don’t regret that Slavko Curuvija was murdered” referring to the murder of this famous journalist in 1999. Short after his election as president Nikolić denied Srebrenica being genocide and called Vukovar a Serbian town, which sparked international outrage.
Tomislav Nikolić is married and has two sons and five grandchildren.
Leader Serbian Progressive Party (SNS)
Aleksandar Vučić is born on 5 March 1970 in Belgrade. He has been the First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, from 2012 till 2014. In 1993 his political career started: he joined the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and was elected to the National Assembly. Two years later he became secretary-general of SRS. He ran in the Belgrade mayoral election twice, in 2004 and again in 2008, losing both times to candidates from the Democratic Party (DS). In March 1998, Vučić was appointed Minister of Information in the government of Mirko Marjanović. Following rising resentment against Milosevic, Vučić introduced fines for journalists who criticized the government and banned foreign TV networks. He recalled in 2014 that he was wrong and had changed, stating “I was not ashamed to confess all my political mistakes.” In July 2012 Vučić became Minister of Defense, but stepped down after a year due to a cabinet reshuffle. At the same time he was appointed Vučić became the First Deputy Prime Minister. Because his SNS party became the biggest at the 2014 elections, it is high likely he will become Prime Minister.
Vučić has two children.
Leader Socialist party of Serbia (SPS)
Ivica Dačić was born in Prizren, Serbia on 1 January 1966. He graduated from the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade. Dačić became a member of the Socialist Party of Serbia under Slobodan Milosevic. The party went into opposition with the ousting of Milosevic in 2000. Since then Dačić has invested in transforming the party. By choosing the pro-European coalition with the DS, he prevented the formation of a right wing radical coalition. Dačić favours younger party officials within his party and is the promoter of the so-called new socialism. Dačić became a member of the Serbian Parliament in 2004 and was a candidate in the presidential elections that year. He came in fifth with 3.6% of the vote. In 2006 Dačić was elected leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia. The Socialists returned to government in 2008. Dačić has been Prime Minister of Serbia from 2012 till 2014. Before this he served as First Deputy Prime Minister in 2008 till 2012 and was the Minister of Internal Affairs.
Ivica Dačić is married and has two children.
Leader Democratic Party (DS)
Dragan Djilas was born 22 February 1967 in Belgrade. As a member of the Democratic Party (DS) he became the mayor of Belgrade in 2008. He further served as the Minister without Portfolio in charge of the National Investment Plan in the 2007-2008 Cabinet of Serbia and prior to that as the director of the People's Office of the President between 2004 and 2007. In 2012 he became the leader of the DS.
Dragan Djilas is married and has four children.
Leader New Democratic Party (NDS)
Boris Tadić was born 15 January 1958 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Belgrade with a degree in social psychology. Tadić was a member of the anti-communist dissident movement in Yugoslavia in the 1980s and was arrested and imprisoned several times by the communist authorities.
Boris Tadić has been a member of the Democratic Party (DS) since 1990, and served as its deputy leader, before he was elected as the party leader in 2004 and re-elected in 2006. In 2000, in the months following the overthrowing of the Milosevic regime, he served as Minister of Telecommunications in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. From March 2003 to April 2004 he was the Minister of Defence of Serbia and Montenegro, instituting democratic reforms and transforming the military to be NATO compliant. Boris Tadić served as President of Serbia from 2004 -2012, which are two terms. In 2012 he resigned to trigger an early election. Following his defeat in the 2012 presidential election and poor party ratings, he stepped down in November 2012, to take the position of the party's Honorary President. After a split with the new leadership in January 2014, Tadić left the Democratic Party and formed his own bloc: the New Democratic Party, which holds 18 seats in parliament. Tadić strongly advocates close ties with the European Union and Serbia's European integration.
Boris Tadić is married and has two children.
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