PACE Vote on Russia Splits Serbian Parties

A vote last week in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, PACE, condemning Russian actions in Ukraine has caused divisions in Serbia, especially within the opposition Democratic Party.

With 145 votes in favour, PACE on Thursday passed a resolution imposing sanctions on the Russian delegation due to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine; 21 delegates voted against the resolution, and 22 abstained.

Three of Serbia's seven-member delegation voted for the resolution - two deputies from the Democratic Party and one from the United Regions of Serbia.

Three voted against - two from the Serbian Progressive Party deputies - while one deputy, from the Liberal Democratic Party, abstained.

After the vote, Dusan Spasojevic, chairman of the Democrats' Foreign Policy Committee and the party's international secretary, resigned on Monday from all functions in the party.

Spasojevic, a former ambassador to Turkey and former foreign policy adviser to President Boris Tadic, said the reason for his resignation was the vote of the Democratic Party members in favour of suspending Russia's voting rights at the PACE.

In a statement for Beta news agency, Spasojevic "deeply disagreed with the position of the deputies," adding he believed it ran contrary to the country's foreign policy interests and represented "a drastic deviation from the state-making and nationally responsible policies that all Democratic Party leaders conducted in the past."

However, Natasa Vuckovic, one of the vice-presidents of the party, on Monday said the Democratic MPs believed their vote had been "in Serbia's interest".

The vote did not stir tensions only among the Democrats. Other Serbian parties have also distanced themselves from the way their...

Continue reading on: