Polls predict Serbia’s presidential election will be a landslide victory for Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić.
The 47-year-old is predicted to win in the first round with more than 50 percent of the vote.
While the role of president is largely ceremonial, critics claim Vučić‘s run for the position is a power play.
If he takes over from departing one-term President Tomislav Nikolic, he is likely to retain real control through his leadership of the ruling Progressive Party, analysts say.
To some Vučić represents a cool head in the delicate balancing act between Russia and the EU membership he covets, but others are mistrustful of what they say is an authoritarian streak in the prime minister, that
has enabled him to take control over the media in Serbia in recent years.
Over 2,000 local and foreign observers have been monitoring the vote, including the OSCE, which is managing four ballot collection centres in Kosovo at Belgrade’s request.
Presidential candidates in #Serbia and their number of interactions on Facebookby VidStimac, data ShareDataLab pic.twitter.com/6D5sqtiHTW— Lily Lynch (@lilyslynch) April 2, 2017
Vučić‘s ten opponents, which include far-right Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Šešelj, are expected to trail way behind in the polls.
Šešelj, an ultranationalist, is running almost exactly a year after being acquitted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at The Hague.
The intellectual elite has come out in support of Sasa Jankovic, a former ombudsman whom they believe capable of putting a stop to Serbia’s well-documented corruption and cronyism.
Luka Maksimović – otherwise known as ‘Beli’ – is making waves politically by adding a touch of humour to proceedings. The populist campaigned using comedy to portray Serbia’s politicians as greedy cheats in an effort to engage millennial voters.
Beli’s message is clear: politicians are not to be trusted.