Parliamentary elections were held in Serbia on 17 December 2023 to elect members of the National Assembly. While they were initially scheduled to be held by 30 April 2026, Aleksandar Vučić, the president of Serbia, called a snap election in November 2023, after previously announcing that snap elections could be either held in 2023 or 2024. In addition to the parliamentary elections, the Vojvodina provincial and local elections were held in 65 cities and municipalities, including the capital, Belgrade. Data released by the election commission on Wednesday showed President Aleksandar Vučić’s Serbian Progressive party (SNS) won 46.75% of the vote, while a pro-European opposition coalition, Serbia Against Violence, got 23.66%.
The 2023 Serbian elections were highly contentious and sparked major controversy due to a number of reasons that created doubts about the electoral process’s fairness and openness. President Aleksandar Vui’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) won a resounding win, maintaining its political control. However, the elections were criticised by opposition parties and international observers for charges of media censorship, limited freedom of expression, and unequal access to the media, all of which favoured the incumbent party. There were allegations that state resources were being exploited to assist the SNS campaign, jeopardising the electoral environment’s impartiality. Furthermore, the opposition parties expressed worries about voter intimidation and irregularities, calling the election results into question. In order to help unpack these controversies and what these elections mean for both Serbia and the Balkans region as a whole, we are joined once again by Dr Alexander Mesarovich.
Alexander Mesarovich earned his PhD (Politics) at the University of Edinburgh. His thesis analysed the impact of informal political networks on the EU accession processes of Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia. Since finishing his PhD, Alexander has been a teaching assistant at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Stirling and has worked as a Lecturer in Politics at the University of Strathclyde. Alexander was previously on the IRP discussing the international risks associated with EU enlargement in the Balkans. You can listen to that conversation at episode 141.