Zdravko Ponos, the United Opposition of Serbia's presidential candidate, told the March 3 edition of the Novi Magazin weekly that the job of the president of state is to represent Serbia before the world, command the military, ensure the security of the country, name ambassadors and promote officers, and to use the power of his or her words to model rational behavior and spread calm -- and not, as incumbent President Aleksandar Vucic is doing, to use every opportunity for dramatics and hate speech.
"On April 3, Serbian citizens will have the opportunity to bid a farewell to the current government and to stop the train that -- after ten years of Progressive party rule -- is propelling Serbia toward a precipice. After ten years of Progressive leadership, ours is a quite fractured society. Corruption has taken root so thoroughly that the very survival of society is in peril," Ponos said.
According to him, while the previous government fell in 2012 due to corruption, the current government has managed to cultivate corruption to previously unimaginable proportions and exists in a tight symbiosis with organized crime. "This government has utterly destroyed all [state] institutions. The outgoing Serbian president has divided society into [two groups]: his people and everyone else -- although his constitutional duty is to embody state unity. He represents only the unity of his own party," Ponos maintained.
"The outgoing president behaves as if Serbia is his private property. He does not respect the Constitution, which defines the authority and responsibilities of the president of state. He has appropriated the positions of prime minister, ministers, editors-in-chief, infectious disease experts, urban planners and -- at once -- of journalist and guest, posing questions to himself during interviews," the opposition's presidential candidate said.
Asked to sum up the impact Aleksandar Vucic has had on the office of Serbian president, Ponos said that Vucic embodies a government dominated by a combination of incompetence and arrogance.