Tensions in relations between Tomislav Nikolic and Aleksandar Vucic have stirred Serbia’s political scene, but neither of them has spoken about it officially, B92 reports.
Reports that current Serbian president would run for reelections came only a day after the SNS Presidency nominated the party’s president and Serbia’s prime minister, which should be confirmed by the SNS main committee on Friday.
Neither Vucic nor Nikolic, who was in the past also at the helm of the biggest Serbian party, have made any statements on this issue, as their associates – on one hand, coalition partners, minister and SNS officials, and on the other, people from Nikolic’s cabinet – came to the fore.
The story has been unfolding in the media, with Sputnik and N1 being the first to report that Nikolic had decided to run, which was also unofficially confirmed for B92. Prva TV then learned that Nikolic had send a letter to Vucic, allegedly with a list of demands that had to be fulfilled in order for him to give up on his candidature.
Nikolic allegedly offered to support Vucic’s presidential bid and in return asked for the top spots in the SNS and in the government, while there have also been unformed media reports that he was interested in becoming Serbia’s ambassador in Moscow.
Media said that Vucic rejected this offer and did not reply to the letter. Speaking for Prva TV, SNS Vice President and Deputy PM Nebojsa Stefanovic said that Vucic had made Nikolic a fair offer and would not go beyond it.
According to Stefanovic, Vucic “does not want to barter, he wants to talk,” and “does not plan to speak publicly in his role of SNS president in the coming days.”
Stefanovic also said that he thought the mood in the SNS main committee was in favor of confirming Vucic as their presidential candidate.
Another SNS Vice-President and Novi Sad Mayor Milos Vucevic also spoke for the media to say that the SNS Presidency had rejected the offer Nikolic made to Vucic, but would not reveal any details of the offer. According to Vucevic, Nikolic’s decision to run for reelection is “politically irrational, if actually true.”
He added that the signals arriving from Nikolic when it comes to his candidature are “unclear” since he has neither confirmed nor denied the media reports.
Presidential Adviser Stanislava Pak confirmed for Sputnik that Nikolic and Vucic continued to talk after the news about Nikolic’s candidature had been reported, saying that the president expected to reach an agreement that was “in the interest of Serbia.”
B92 was told unofficially at the Presidency of Serbia that an agreement between Vucic and Nikolic would essentially represent “a presumption of stability” but that this calls for “mutual concessions.”
Tanjug said that the prime minister’s cabinet denied media reports about “secret talks” between Vucic and Nikolic being under way, adding, “there are no negotiations between the two at all, and Vucic has no intention of engaging in that.”