President Aleksandar Vucic said he would remain head of state, amid ongoing anti-government protests following two consecutive mass shootings.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has resigned as leader of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), following anti-government protests against two mass shootings killed 18 people this month.
On Saturday, Vucic told an SNS congress he would remain head of state, but a new approach was needed to unite the country.
“A slightly different approach is needed to unite more than those who want to fight for the victory of the patriotic Serbs… a successful Serbia will focus on its citizens, because a country will not look for reason. Because of division, they seek unity and unity,” said the 53-year-old.
The move comes a day after tens of thousands of people from all over Serbia and from neighboring Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia gathered in the center of the Serbian capital Belgrade to show support for Vucic following protests great anti-government sentiment against the shooting.
Another anti-government protest was planned for late Saturday.
The leaders of the SNS accepted Vucic’s offer of resignation at the party congress in Kragujevac, central Serbia, and appointed Defense Minister Milos Vucevic instead, as Vucic had suggested.
Opposition parties and human rights watchdogs have long accused Vucic and SNS of being autocratic, stifling freedom of the media, violence against political opponents, corruption and links to crime. organization.
Vucic and his allies deny the allegations.
Vucic told the congress that he would remain head of state and would remain a party member. “I will never leave this party, I am proud to have led the best party all these years,” he told cheering delegates.
Following his appointment, Vucevic confirmed that SNS would join an umbrella political organization that Vucic plans to establish on June 28.
He told reporters: “If Vucic was at the forefront of that movement, the first carriage would be the SNS.
The shooting that shocked Serbia
Tens of thousands of Serbs rally in Belgrade earlier this month after two deadly shootings in a row left the country and the surrounding Balkans in a state of shock.
A 13-year-old suspect carried out an attack that officials say he had been planning for months. A day later, a 21-year-old suspect traveling in a moving car opened fire on passersby in a town south of Belgrade.
After the shooting, the Serbian educators’ association announced a strike and called for an end to the promotion of violence in the country.
“We demand a ban on the promotion and public appearance of all convicted criminals, as well as all reality shows in which participants engage in violent conduct,” their statement read.
At their protest march, Serbs demanded better security, a ban on violent content on TV and demanded the resignation of key ministers.
Vucic became president of the SNS in 2012, replacing Tomislav Nikolic, who had held the post since 2008 when the party was founded as an offshoot of the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party.
He first served as deputy prime minister and prime minister, then elected president in 2017 and 2022. His second and final term ends in 2027. Together with allies of alone, SNS holds the majority of 164 seats out of 250 members. Congress.
A nationalist flamethrower during the wars of the 1990s, Vucic later adopted pro-European policies, claiming Serbia’s membership of the European Union as his goal. strategy of this country. He also maintains close ties with Russia and China.