Center for Free Elections and Democracy (CeSID) Executive Director Bojan Klacar said on Nov. 19 that the adoption of constitutional amendments would not be some special trump card for the Serbian Progressive Party in the upcoming elections, but that the campaign for the referendum in which that would be decided would serve as good preparation for the election campaign and the additional mobilization of the party's voters.
"Constitutional amendments which are highly specific, require expert knowledge and are related to one area - the judiciary, are not a topic that can be a watershed in the elections, and so in that sense it is not a special trump card for the Serbian Progressive Party. This party and the ruling coalition will reap indirects benefits because this referendum will be preceded by a campaign and that will mean great media exposure of public officials and an additional mobilization of the public, especially of the voters who traditionally vote for the ruling coalition," Klacar told BETA.
When asked whether the adoption of the constitutional amendments and the calling of the elections would coincide, he replied that, "If the legal authorities and the speaker of the National Assembly are to be believed, amendments to the Constitution must be made in this parliament's term in office, which will practically mean that the election campaign will directly follow the referendum campaign."
Regarding the possibility of success of a referendum boycott, which some opposition parties are calling for, Klacar said that "the opposition is not in a simple and thankful position in this matter for two reasons." "The first is that they are aware that constitutional amendments were necessary, so room for criticism shrinks, and the other is that they have small resources for an extended campaign - referendum plus elections. They are not present in the parliament either, which additionally reduces their room for maneuver," he explained.
That is why Klacar expects "the opposition's focus to be on delegitimizing both the Referendum Act and on voting for the constitutional amendments, since the opposition is not represented in parliament, therefore a parliament that is devoid of opposition is to adopt the constitutional amendments."