Analysis 30 Jun 16

Leader’s Backing for NATO Splits Serbia’s Democrats

Call by the leader of the opposition Democratic Party for Serbia to join NATO divides the public – and raises questions about his motives.

Sasa Dragojlo, Milivoje Pantovic
BIRN
Belgrade
Bojan Pajtic. Photo:Democratic Party.

The call by Bojan Pajtic, leader of the Democratic Party, for his party to champion Serbia’s NATO membership has sparked controversies both in the party and among the public.

Pajtic said his proposal was motivated by concerns that Russia may soon establish a military base in northern Serbia, which would set Serbia at odds with its Western allies.

But experts say the party leader is also taking up this position to outmanoeuvre his main rival, Dragan Sutanovac in elections for the new party leadership planned for September.

Experts also warn that a strong pro-NATO position may not bring the waning party many extra votes.

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