Serbian politicians court voters by acting

Serbian politicians often try to boost their reputation by being filmed in various flattering settings, but most Serbians are aware that these appearances are completely staged.

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Serbian politicians court voters by acting - NewsMavens
A city snow plow along Lamoille Highway in Elko, Nevada. Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

In October 2016, Aleksandar Vučić, then prime Minister, criticized the mayor of Niš in what looked like an informal street conversation -- except that the two were surrounded by cameras that (supposedly accidentally) recorded Vučić's disapproval of enormous city budget expenditures.

After watching the video, some Serbians concluded both Vučić and the mayor of Niš should consider becoming actors. But others supported Vučić, who became president of Serbia last year. In Niš, he won over 50 percent of the votes. 

Vučić continued his acting career in TV interview shows when he helped audience members who fainted on air. They were later revealed to be the same people who appeared in his promotional videos. 

Recently, a representative of the authorities responsible for road maintenance in Belgrade -- which is notoriously bad -- was filmed in front of a plow truck repeatedly driving by, much to the amusement of Belgrade citizens.

It may amuse many Serbs to see officials make fools out of themselves, but the joke will be on all Serbians if voters let themselves be seduced by this type of official deception. 

politics,media

Details from the story:

  • Citizens of Belgrade have been complaining about bad maintenance of city roads for years, which makes movement especially difficult during bad weather conditions. 
  • Video of a truck repeatedly circling a roundabout behind the representative of road maintenance company "Beograd Put" became a viral hit in Serbia and the Balkans in March.  
  • The road maintenance company denied that the driver of the truck was instructed to repeatedly drive around the roundabout during the interview.
  • Beograd Put said the truck kept driving around the roundabout to provide equal distribution of salt on traffic lanes to prevent freezing. 
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Zuzanna ZiomeckaGazeta Wyborcza, Europe
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