Serbia: Election during covid-19 pandemic and return to lockdown

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published on 20 July 2020 | reading time approx. 1 minute

    
Parliamentary elections were held in Serbia on 21 June 2020. Initially organized for 26 April 2020, they were postponed by a state of emergency due to the covid-19 pandemic in the country. Numerous parliamentary and non-parliamentary political parties boycotted the elections which resulted in the lowest turnout since the establishment of a multi-party system in 1990.
   

     

Since March, 67,000 employees are working from home, 168 manufacturing companies have stopped production and around 85 per cent of SMEs are expected to be negatively affected by the covid-19 outbreak, including German investors. The local currency “RSD” has depreciated around 3 per cent since the beginning of the year, making international trade and investment decisions more difficult.

 
The government’s current economic reform program focuses on ensuring economic and financial stability, creating an environment for economic recovery and growth to foster employment and raise living standards. For the moment, Serbia cannot become a member of the EU without additional reforms, stronger rule of law, and improved relations with regional neighbors; a fact that delays foreign investments in the region.
 

New lockdown postponed

In the covid-19 pandemic context, Serbs took the streets on Tuesday, 9 July 2020, soon after President Vucic announced that Serbia's capital Belgrade would be placed under a new three-day lockdown following a second wave of confirmed coronavirus infections. But the demonstrations quickly morphed into a wider expression of frustration and perceived mismanagement of Serbia’s pandemic response. The protests continued the entire week, even after Mr. Vucic suspended his decision to enforce a second shutdown. At the end of last week, authorities banned gatherings of more than 10 people in Belgrade and shortened the working hours of indoor businesses.
 
As of Monday, 13 July 2020, the crisis staff for combating covid-19 epidemic is addressing the public on a daily basis. The country officially has over 18,000 confirmed infections and 382 deaths since March. Health authorities have warned that Serbian hospitals are almost full due to the latest surge in cases.
 

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