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News 13 Sep 17

Serbian Rightists Want Capital Moved From Belgrade

The far-right Serbian League movement has launched a campaign to move the capital of Serbia from Belgrade to the northern city of Novi Sad.

Maja Zivanovic

Placards "Novi Sad capital of Vojvodina" in Novi Sad. Photo: Serbian League

The far-right Serbian League says Serbia's northern city of Novi Sad should become the capital of the country, instead of Belgrade.

Serbian League head Aleksandar Djurdjev, told BIRN that his movement sought the the “decentralization of Serbia.

“We demand the rationalization of the state administration, the dislocation of a number of ministries and state institutions and the proclamation of Novi Sad as the new capital of Serbia,” he said.

The official page of the Serbian League says the movement advocates “patriotic political integration following the tradition of European and Serbian conservatism”, and it believes that “traditionalism and Christianity are inexhaustible sources of the best that our civilization has accomplished”.

The movement also promotes a policy of “national identity” through “a state of the Serbian population”.

Members of the movement have put up numerous posters and billboards to promote the new campaign around Novi Sad.

Billboard in Novi Sad. Photo: Serbian League

According to Djurdjev, the campaign not only urges moving the capital to Novi Sad, but also the transfer of ministries to other Serbian cities.

“In the context of the new state administration organization, in which all autonomous areas would be abolished, and [because of the] the rich Serbian historical heritage that exists in the areas north of the Sava and the Danube [Rivers], we consider it appropriate that Novi Sad be declared the new capital of Serbia,” Djurdjev explained.

The status of Novi Sad has been a matter of dispute for some time. It is both the largest city of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and Serbia's second city.

The Statute of Vojvodina, which Vojvodina’s assembly adopted in 2009, named Novi Sad as Vojvodina’s capital.

But after the Serbian Constitutional Court later ruled that the 2009 statute was unconstitutional, in 2014 the parliament adopted a new statute, which named Novi Sad as the “administrative centre of Vojvodina”.

Some Vojvodina political parties advocate a higher degree of autonomy for the province.  These so-called “autonomists” continue to see Novi Sad as Vojvodina’s capital city.  

“Our proposition is diametrically opposite to theirs [the autonomists], because they want to see Novi Sad as the capital of Vojvodina, while we want it named as the Serbian capital," Djurdjev explained, adding that Serbian League condemned calls for more autonomy for Vojvodina.

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