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Illiberal and authoritarian tendencies in Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe

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Edited By Florian Bieber, Magdalena Solska and Dane Taleski

Even though the democratic decline has been deemed a global phenomenon, the question of how it manifests itself in the postcommunist world and how it varies across different regions with divergent levels of democratic consolidation has not been sufficiently addressed yet. This book tries to fill the gap and examines the causes and nature of the deteriorating quality of democracy in Central Europe as well as the reversal or stagnation of democratization processes in Southeastern and Eastern Europe. The political elite plays a key role in initiating legislative changes that may lead to democratic backsliding. Its constant commitment to the rule of law and to the practice of selfrestraint in securing the independence of judiciary and the rights of political opposition appears hence indispensable for sustainable liberal democracy.
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7. Serbia – A Regime that Only Seemed Gone (Irena Ristić)

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Irena Ristić

7.  Serbia – A Regime that Only Seemed Gone

Since 2012, when the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) came to power by winning both the parliamentary and presidential elections, Serbia has been increasingly moving towards a competitive authoritarian regime. The ruling party, led by current President Aleksandar Vučić, established a system of control over public goods and access to resources, which provides an indirect influence on the vast majority of citizens, who consequently remain politically passive. In a similar manner the SNS is controlling the media, depriving the opposition of access to a wider audience other than through social networks and a limited number of media. As a result Serbia is drifting into an undemocratic system in which institutions are being eroded, while the EU – through its support for Aleksandar Vučić – is about to jeopardize its credibility and support among those citizens and parties in Serbia, which are in favour of the European Union.

Keywords: Aleksandar Vučić, competitive authoritarian regime, erosion of institutions, EU-integration, Serbia

Introduction

There is no consensus about how to exactly define the different types of regimes that have been in place in Serbia since 1989. There are no doubts about the authoritarian character of the system during the rule of Slobodan Milošević,1 the period after 2000 remains in a terminologically grey zone in which Serbia has been positioned somewhere between a hybrid system and a democracy. During...

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