on january 17, 2016 the current prime minister of serbia, aleksander vucic announced a new federal election for april 24, 2016. the country has a unicameral parliamentary system whereby the power is with the PM and the president has largely a ceremonial role. the structure is the exact opposite as in for instance france or turkey whereby it is the prime minister who holds the ceremonial role.
on february 17, ICTY–the criminal court in the hague announced the date for the sentencing of vojislav seselj–an alleged war criminal who was on trial for alleged crimes committed during the 1990s during the breakup of the former yugoslavia. ICTY set the verdict date for march 31, 2016.
on march 31, vojislav seselj was acquitted. seselj is also the leader of the serbian radical party. during the 2012 elections, the party’s percentage of the national vote was around 2% and they lost their seats in parliament. for today’s election it is predicted, just 2 years later, that the serbian radical party, also known as the nationalist party, will pass the 5% hurdle during today’s election and enter parliament with 7.9% of the vote.
has the ICTY helped seselj and his nationalist party over the 5% threshold? one might ask, does western europe still not get the west balkans? or one might ask, have the dutch been smoking too much weed?
as a bit of background, according to the BBC, seselj was the youngest person to receive a PhD in the former yugolsavia. he also briefly taught at the university in michigan, one of the best public schools in the united states. in a democracy people vote for whomever they want. it is the best barometer for finding out what citizens are thinking. it is how we discovered that people in france simultaneously agree with the national front party but maybe only some of marine le pen’s rhetoric. which is why since 2000 when le pen’s father made it to the runoff election for president. then the national front started doing well on the first ballot, and then fail miserably in run off elections.