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News 19 Oct 17

Potential Belgrade Mayor Fears Possible Arrest

Dragan Djilas, a former Mayor of Belgrade, says he has been threatened with arrest if he tries to run again in next year's local elections in the Serbian capital.

Filip Rudic
BIRN
Belgrade
Dragan Djilas. Photo: Medija Centar

Former Belgrade mayor Dragan Djilas said that he had received threats of arrest if he runs in the upcoming Belgrade elections, which are due to be held in March 2018.

"I can confirm this information, which appeared in the media, and the way it was presented to me tells how arrogant this government is," Djilas told the weekly Nedeljnik from Thursday.

Serbian daily newspaper Danas reported in early October that Djilas received threats of arrest, citing sources "close" to the former Belgrade mayor.

Reportedly, one of the high-ranking city officials told Djilas through a middle-man that he will be taken to court if he accepts candidacy, and that "materials are being gathered for that operation".

At the time, Djilas told Danas that he cannot be intimidated by threats of arrest, but that there is a possibility for "various setups".

Djilas’ candidacy has been the subject of wide speculation by the tabloids in the past few weeks. 

The former Democratic Party leader who ran Belgrade from 2008 until 2013, when a new Progressive-led majority ousted him, has not yet confirmed if he will run for mayor.

However, he said that he wanted to "help stop the decay of Belgrade", and that the way in which he does that will depend on citizens' support.

"Either way, candidate or not, I can speak my mind about what I think needs to be done in Belgrade," Djilas told Nedeljnik.

He said that the opposition should participate in the elections in a single bloc, a prospect that seems doomed, however, since some parties have already said they will not support each other.

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