The good and the bad effects of reducing electoral threshold
"Lower electoral threshold benefits smaller parties that plan to take part in elections"
Reducing the electoral threshold from five to three percent is the ruling party's loss, but is some ways it's also its gain because of the announced boycott, as more parties will be represented in parliament after all, says Ipsos Strategic agency director Srdjan Bogosavljevic.
He stressed that the ability of parties to enter parliament has been increased, which can have both positive and negative consequences, as the threshold has remained the same for coalitions.
"That can be good because 3 percent of the vote is enough to make someone a representative of 90,000 or so citizens. However, what's bad is that this threshold has remained the same for coalitions, while the weak point of our system is having too many parties in parliament and in government to begin with. We don't have full responsibility before the voters because half of these parties never took part in elections anyway," Bogosavljevic explained for RTS.
He says the lower threshold benefits smaller parties planning to go to the polls.
"Purely by numbers, the strongest party is the one who will lose something, but given that they are facing a boycott in some ways they win because more parties will cross the threshold, so the parliament will be more colorful and have more different voices and the possibility of looking more democratic," says Bogosavljevic.
He believes that changing election rules in an election year is a kind of indecency.
"On the other hand, dialogue between the authorities and the opposition on electoral conditions was organized with great delay, MEPs got involved, a number of changes in the electoral conditions have already been agreed, so this can be treated in that sense as well," said Bogosavljevic.
He stressed that a lower threshold is certainly not restrictive for the parties that will participate in elections.
"Boycott is a legitimate way of fighting when you disagree with something. There are very few successful boycotts, but those happen as well. It's a question of assessment. When you must weigh (pros and cons), it's not easy," says Bogosavljevic.
He said that in Serbia, 60 percent of voters know who they will vote for, while the rest decide at the last minute.
"Surveys show that voters are interested in the economy the most. However, it's very difficult for them to recognize who is the one who really offers the economy because all parties say that they have a plan for progress," says Bogosavljevic.
He explains that for the first time since the SPS in Milosevic's era we have one party that is in power because it has 50 percent of MPs, so it is either to blame or to take credit for everything it does.
"Before that, there were some coalition combinations where you couldn't accuse anyone or attribute credit to them, so we have no experience of knowing who the one who really knows how to do something is. Then, we look at whether or not we believe a person, which is a matter of psychology," explains Dragan Bogosavljevic.
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