Koper – Although Serbia and Hungary are not large or leading countries in Europe, elections in these two countries are not entirely unimportant for Slovenia, the newspaper Primorske Novice says in its commentary Let’s Watch Belgrade, Let’s Watch Budapest a day before general elections in the two countries.
“History teaches us that crises often start exactly in such countries,” it says, adding that the 1914 Sarajevo assassination triggered WWI, and events in Croatia’s Knin in 1989 led to the Balkan wars.
The current Serbian authorities, and very likely also the coming authorities, strongly support Milorad Dodik’s efforts for more autonomy of the Republic of Srpska, “and it is clear what a new attempt to create Greater Serbia means”.
Serbia is also interesting to watch because despite its wish to join the EU, it is welcoming Chines and Arabs as investors, something the EU is trying to avoid.
President Aleksandar Vučić’s Serbia in a way plays a similar game that Tito’s Yugoslavia used to play – with both sides and primarily pursuing its own interests.
Hungary, on the other, is a medium-sized country with a strong legacy of socialism and an even stronger legacy as a former imperial power which has effectively exported its model of democracy.
The country combines backward-looking views of society, post-factual politics, and extreme populism that we witnessed under US President Donald Trump.
In terms of form, not a lot could be reproached to such democracy, with elections held in due time, candidates free to stand and the election outcome respected.
“However, it is also true that the election result is taken care of long before the polling stations open – through silencing critical voices, subjugating oversight mechanisms, distributing wealth to the right businessmen, controlling the media and putting the right people at key positions. And then there is less chance for surprises a day after the election.”