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News 16 Feb 17

Serbian Twitter Mocks Nikolic, Vucic Presidency Bids

After media reports that President Tomislav Nikolic will run for another term despite the fact that his party is backing Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic as its candidate, Twitter users poked fun at their predicament.

BIRN Team
BIRN
Belgrade
Tomislav Nikolic [left] and Aleksandar Vucic. Photo: Darko Vojinovic/AP

Serbians have taken to social media to poke fun at reports that the Serbian President and Prime Minister could be running against each other in upcoming presidential elections.

The pair who led the Serbian Progressive Party until 2012, when Nikolic froze his party membership to take over the presidency, founded the party together back in 2008 when Nikolic and Vucic broke away from the hardline nationalist Serbian Radical Party and adopted more moderate policies.

Vojislav Seselj, the Radicals' leader who has stood trial in the Hague for alleged war crimes at the time, was one of the most prominent to take to Twitter to gloat.

He posted a photo showing Nikolic and Vucic holding hands with a caption from a Toni Braxton song: “Un-break my heart. Say you'll love me again.”

 

 

Another user published an old photo of Nikolic and Seselj, who will also run for the presidency, sitting together with Vucic carrying a case of beer behind their backs.

“Fun fact: From this picture, only the pack of beer still hasn’t run for the post of Serbian president,” wrote the user.

 

 

Others also took to social media to share old photos of Seselj, Vucic and Nikolic together, pointing to how all three could now be opponents.

 

 

While some analysts and politicians saw Nikolic’s move as potentially divisive for the Progressive party, Istok Pavlovic, a Serbian marketing consultant and blogger, posted with irony:

“Why don’t we just abolish the president’s post? On the one hand it is not serving any purpose, and on the other it just causes brawls and problems,” he wrote.

 

 

“Can you imagine what a state the Serbian political scene is in when Nikolic is the biggest opposition to Vucic?!” wrote gay rights activist Predrag Azdejkovic.

 

 

Some made comments on the confusion that Nikolic’s reported decision might have caused within the party.

One user published a photo of Serbian parliamentary speaker Maja Gojkovic, who left the Radicals in 2008 to form her own party, then eventually joined the Progressives in 2012.

“Oh my god, what should I do, who to go to?” one user wrote.

 

 

Other users alighted on information that Nikolic had made the decision to run for another term late on Wednesday during his birthday celebrations, as well as a previous statement from Moscow that the Russian president would closely monitor the Serbian elections - implying that Russia was behind Nikolic’s reported decision.

“There is a rule not to tweet while drinking, but no one says that you should not answer calls from Russia on your birthday,” one Twitter user wrote.

 

 

Media have reported on Wednesday evening that in an unexpected move, Nikolic had decided to run for another term, although his party has already voted to nominate Vucic as its candidate.

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