At least 50,000 protesters turned out for a fourth week of anti-government demonstrations in Belgrade on December 29.
The protesters, as well as the Serbian opposition, accuse the country’s president, Aleksandar Vučić, of being increasingly autocratic and of taking complete control over Serbian media, using it to campaign against opponents. They also accuse the ruling SNS party of being corrupt.
In an interview with the pro-government Studio B TV station during the protest, Mr Vučić said he was ready to discuss the opposition demands.
“I am ready to look at what causes dissent of the people,” he said, after being jeered by a group of protesters as he entered the television station building. He added, however, that even if five million people protest, he would still not meet the demands of the protest movement and the opposition.
Mr Vučić suggested that he was willing to test his party’s popularity in an early election, although Vuk Jeremić, a former foreign minister and the head of the People’s Party, part of the Alliance for Serbia, an opposition grouping of 30 parties and civil society organisations, said the opposition would boycott any election.
“There will be no legitimate elections in Serbia with the participation of the opposition until the normal conditions for elections are created,” said Mr Jeremić.
The SNS-led ruling coalition has a comfortable majority of 160 deputies in the 250-seat parliament. The next general election is scheduled for 2020.