Democrat Mayor Ousted in Serbia’s Second City

Serbia’s ruling coalition at national level has taken power in the capital of the northern Vojvodina province.Twenty hours of stormy debate in the Novi Sad city assembly have finished with the election of new leadership in the city and the dismissal of the mayor.

In a secret vote, the assembly dismissed mayor Igor Pavlicic, a member of the Democratic Party and the city assembly speaker, Aleksandra Jerkov, from the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina.Milos Vucevic, from Serbia’s ruling Progressive Party, was elected the new mayor, while the new assembly speaker is Sinisa Sevic, from the Socialists. These two parties are now in coalition at national level.

The assembly also chose new directors for the city’s public and utility companies.

Pavlicic was elected mayor on June 30 following May general, local and presidential elections in Serbia.

But a request for his dismissal followed the Progressive Party’s Main Board meeting on August 26, when party leaders resolved to seize power in several local authorities.

Beside Novi Sad, the Progressives also aim to take power in the towns of Leskovac, in the south, and Zajecar, in the east.

Although the Socialists and Progressives have formed a national government since the May general elections, the Socialists remain in coalition with the former ruling Democrats in numerous municipalities. The Progressives are now trying to end these alliances.

For weeks, Novi Sad has been plastered with posters containing pictures of Pavlicic and the words, “He is done!”.On Thursday, new posters sprung up in Novi Sad, again targeting the mayor.

These likened Pavlicic to a character from the BBC’s popular sitcom “Only Fools and Horses”, Rodney Trotter.

Foes of the mayor printed a catchphrase from the series, “What a Plonker,” [i.e, “What an idiot,”] under images of actor Nicholas Lyndhurst – clearly meant to represent Pavlicic.

Pavlicic, meanwhile, bowed out gracefully, saying that Thursday’s vote had “put an end to a political crisis that was ongoing since the former city authorities were put together.

“It’s good that the crisis has been terminated and all these bad things should be left behind us,” he said.

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