"They asked me to betray Vucic": Dacic on opposition demands ahead of 2017 elections
The leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), who has also been a coalition partner of the Serbian Progressive Part (SNS) for seven years, say it wasn't hard to respond negatively to such an offer
Opposition leaders as well as people close to the leaders of today's Alliance for Serbia (SzS) asked me to betray Aleksandar Vucic in the 2017 presidential election, says Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.
The leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), who has also been a coalition partner of the Serbian Progressive Part (SNS) for seven years, say it wasn't hard to respond negatively to such an offer.
"The campaign was just starting, the presidential elections were just announced, and the phone kept ringing. I don't know who didn't call and try to persuade me to turn my back on Vucic," Dacic says.
He added that everyone wanted only one thing - for him to abandon Vucic in the election campaign and for both himself and the SPS not to support Vucic in the presidential election.
"It was a crazy request, a miserable recruitment attempt and a dirty game. The party I've been leading since 2012 is in coalition with Vucic's party. We went through a lot and it turned out that we are fair partners to each other, that each side respects everything we agree on," Dacic points out.
Asked if it would be easier for him to work with someone other than Vucic, he replies:
"Don't be driving a wedge between us, we work together, fight for Serbia's interests. I know that many here, as well as abroad, would like to see a rift in the ruling coalition. As Milosevic used to say, that's not happening," said the head of Serbia's diplomacy.
Dacic also assessed that the SNS and the SPS-JS coalition would win even more votes in the 2020 elections, because they fight for Serbia's interests. He pointed out that the SPS policy in no way corresponds to that of, as he said, a ragtag (opposition) group of parties. According to him, the opposition in Serbia doesn't have a policy, and it also lacks the main thing, which is the support of the people.
"What they're doing cannot be and is not to Serbia's benefit," says the SPS leader.
He recalled that he had a similar message for the opposition during the 2017 presidential election campaign.
"I've never seen such hatred toward Serbia anywhere, they don't hate Vucic, they hate Serbia. I love Serbia, and that's why I stand with Vucic and for the future of Serbia," Dacic told opposition leaders at the time.