Project: Security issues within Serbian 2016 election campaign

CENTRE’s Analysis in "Danas": NATO as the most common topic in the electoral campaign

Daily newspaper "Danas" published CENTRE’s analysis on the representation of security issues in its special section called "Electoral Fever." The article pointed out the CENTRE’s findings which showed that the question of joining NATO was the most common topic in the current electoral campaign, compared to all the others from the wider range of topics related to security issues. 

Furthermore, the article noted that the first reason is the 17th anniversary of the NATO bombing (March 24), which was marked during the campaign. Almost all the parties released a statement regarding this event. Among the ruling coalition, the most explicit in condemning the NATO military operation which has been marked as "aggressor" were representatives of SPS, the party that created and conducted interior and foreign policy of Serbia during the bombing.  The second reason is an effort of right-wing parties - the coalition Dveri-DSS, as well as the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) - to emphasize the condemnation of NATO, including the signing of the Law on Ratification of the Agreement with NATO (IPAP), as the backbone of their electoral campaign.

The question of necessity of the referendum on joining NATO appeared as an indicator of differences between Aleksandar Vucic, the current PM and SNS president and Tomislav Nikolic, the president of Serbia. Although Mr. Nikolic is not a SNS member anymore, he has taken clear positions during the campaign. Therefore, his statements were also subject of the CENTRE's election monitoring. Whereas Mr. Vucic sought to depict the referendum as unnecessary waste of money and time (previously used as the argumentation for unncessary early elections), Mr. Nikolic was in favor of the referendum. It is interesting that Mr. Nikolic who publicly opposed the IPAP enforcement did not mention the organization by its name in his statement delivered on the ocassion of marking the NATO bombing anniversary. 

The election monitoring includes all the dailies, weeklies–NIN, Vreme, Pečat, Nedeljnik, Newsweek, Svedok, Geopolitika, Novi magazin – TV and news programs – RTS1, RTS2, Prva, Studio B, B92, Happy, Pink, Naša TV, N1 – andpolitical TV shows – Upitnik, Da možda ne, Ćirilica, Oko magazin, and Tako stoje stvari.

For more on the results of the election monitoring, read here and here (available only in Serbian).