Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has announced that he will step down as the leader of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) on Saturday, May 27, 2023, in a bid to promote national unity and dialogue at a time of crisis.
He made the announcement at a massive rally in Belgrade on Friday, where he was joined by government officials, leaders of allied parties from Serbia and neighboring countries, and public figures who expressed their support for his policies.
Vucic’s decision comes after two weeks of protests sparked by two separate shootings that killed 18 people, mostly young people and children, and injured dozens more in early May. The protesters have demanded social and political reforms, accusing Vucic of authoritarianism and corruption. Vucic has condemned the violence and called for a dialogue with the opposition and civil society, but ruled out any change of government before the next elections.
Vucic also said that he would form a new political organization called “Movement for People and State” by the end of June, to enhance the country’s unity and capacity to face “the next two or three years of crisis that will prove decisive for Serbia’s future”.
He said he would remain a faithful and loyal member of the SNS, which he has led since 2012. He was elected as president of Serbia in 2017 and re-elected in 2020 for another five-year term.