|Deputy President||Jorgovanka Tabakovi?|
|Founded||21 October 2008|
|Split from||Serbian Radical Party|
|Headquarters||Palmira Toljatija 5, Belgrade|
|Youth wing||Youth Union|
|Women's wing||Women Union|
|Political position||Big tent[a]|
|National affiliation||For Our Children|
|European affiliation||European People's Party (associate)|
|International affiliation||International Democrat Union|
|Assembly of Vojvodina|
|City Assembly of Belgrade|
^ a: SNS is a catch-all party, but it has been described by many as centrist, centre-right and right-wing.
Founded in 2008 as a split from the far-right Serbian Radical Party (SRS), the culmination of a decade-long conflict within the SRS between the party's moderate and hardline wings, the SNS retained the former's conservative outlook while adopting distinct pro-European and neoliberal policies. Tomislav Nikoli? served as the party president until he was elected as the president of Serbia in 2012, and after his resignation, former deputy president Aleksandar Vu?i? was elected as the new president of the party. SNS has won every national-level election since then, winning a majority of seats in 2014 and 2020. With at least 750,000 members as of 2020, SNS is the largest party in Europe by the membership (excluding United Russia).
Ideologically, SNS was formed as a moderate split from SRS, and has been mostly described as a big tent and populist political party. They advocate the accession of Serbia into the European Union, while maintaining the balance with the Eastern and Western powers.
They are the guiding party in the current government coalition which includes left-leaning and right-leaning political parties that support Vu?i?'s policies. As of July 2021, the party holds 167 seats in the National Assembly while the ruling coalition holds 180 out of 250 seats.
The conflict between Tomislav Nikoli? and Vojislav ?e?elj came to light after Nikoli?'s statement that the radicals in the National Assembly would support the Stabilisation and Association Process into the European Union, which met the resistance from ?e?elj and his hardline supporters.
Nikoli?, who was the head of the parliamentary group and a deputy president of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) since 1992, officially resigned from these posts on 7 September 2008, and on the same day ?e?elj demanded to take away Nikoli?'s seat in the National Assembly. While still being a member of the SRS, Nikoli? formed the "Forward, Serbia" (Serbian: , , romanized: Napred, Srbijo) parliamentary group a day later, in which initially 11 members of the parliament that were a part of SRS participated, rising to 13 and then 15 members in couple days.
On September 11, 2008, Nikoli? announced that the "Forward, Serbia" parliamentary group will be transformed into a political party. Rumors were spread about Aleksandar Vu?i? joining the newly-founded party, which was confirmed by Nikoli? himself to be true on the same day. A day later, the Central Patriotic Administration of SRS dismissed Nikoli? and his 18 supporters from the party due to ?e?elj's opposition to Nikoli?'s parliamentary group policies that slowly started to break the SRS apart. Then-general secretary Vu?i? did not participate in the voting that day. Igor Mirovi? formally left SRS after the voting was concluded, stating his support for Nikoli?. On the same day, ?e?elj and Dragan Todorovi? expelled Nikoli?'s supporters, but demanded to get 18 seats back. Due to this situation, parliamentary seats of SNS and SRS were disputed. Founding members of the "Forward, Serbia" parliamentary group were then-vice president of the National Assembly Bo?idar Deli?, Jorgovanka Tabakovi? and nine other members. On September 13, 2008, Vu?i? left SRS and began working with Nikoli? on the formation of their political party. Nikoli? announced that the newly-founded party will be a party of modern right which will campaign for Serbia's accession to the European Union (EU) and would balance relations with Russia. On September 16, it was announced that the founding assembly will be held on 21 October the same year. Nikoli? and other high-officials started campaigning and promoting their soon-founded political party which mostly gained attention from former SRS members. On September 24, 2008, Nikoli?'s high-officials confirmed that the party will be named Serbian Progressive Party.
In early October, Maja Gojkovi? was denied to participate in the foundation of SNS and because of it she formed the People's Party. Nikoli? also confirmed that he was in talks with then-president of the Democratic Party of Serbia Vojislav Ko?tunica and Velimir Ili? to form a patriotic coalition, but was soon after rejected by both of them. On October 10, 2008, the Serbian Progressive Party was registered as a political party. The parliamentary group continued to grow up to 21 members. The founding assembly of the Serbian Progressive Party was held on 21 October 2008, in which a 20-man presidency was presented with Nikoli? as party president and Vu?i? as deputy president.
In early November 2008, the SNS called for a snap parliamentary election to be held by October 2009. This proposal was later supported by ?edomir Jovanovi?, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. Aleksandar Vu?i? stated in late November that the Serbian Progressive Party will remain in the opposition.
It was announced in early March 2009 that Serbian Progressive Party was revoked 580 councilor seats in local municipal assemblies. In May 2009, they opposed the change of constitution which they described as frivolous. In June 2009, elections were held in Zemun, which was known to be the stronghold of the Serbian Radical Party, however, the SNS managed to won 34% of the popular vote in the election, while SRS won only 10%. The SNS campaigned against the "Information law" between July and October 2009, which they described as being anti-democratic. In October they campaigned for the resignation of then prime-minister Mirko Cvetkovi?. In early December 2009, elections were held in Vo?dovac in which the SNS participated. They ended up winning 37.05% of the popular vote and 26 seats in the local assembly. Shortly after the election, they formed a government with the DSS-NS coalition. In Kostolac, they won 12% of the popular vote. They have criticized the then-ruling Democratic Party of corruption and obstructing Serbia's way to the European Union.
By mid-February 2010, they announced that they have collected over 500,000 signatures for new parliamentary elections to be held. In early March, the SNS stated that the government is pulling the country into a deep crisis. Soon after, they announced that they will be holding anti-government demonstrations in Belgrade. Couple days after, they announced that they have collected over a million signatures. The Democratic Party made a statement in late September 2010 claiming that the SNS is dangerous as a party to Serbia. In early November 2010, Vu?i? made a statement claiming that the SNS grew to be the biggest party in the country in just two years. In late December, they announced that they will be protesting due to the worsening political situation in Serbia. The New Serbia party also commented on the situation by stating that they will participate in the protests too. The government responded by inviting the party leaders to a dialogue, however, the dialogue offer was declined by the SNS.
In January 2011, the SNS handed over 304,580 signatures that were collected by the party to change the constitution. In early February, massive protests headed by the SNS began, and on 5 February they stated that they will continue protesting unless the government calls early elections to be held. The protests continued through March, and in April the anti-government protests began to spread out to other cities in Serbia. During their protests, Tomislav Nikoli? made a statement that he expects elections to be held by early December 2011. In October 2011, high-party officials occupied the building of TV Kopernikus. In early November 2011, the SNS published its first party program.
During the protests in 2011, regular hosts besides the Serbian Progressive Party were also the New Serbia, Strength of Serbia Movement and the Movement of Socialists parties. However, the SNS also initially wanted to participate in the election alone. The protests played a major role in boosting up SNS' popularity, and because of it many polls showed that Nikoli? at the time was in lead. In late January 2012, the presidency of New Serbia party confirmed that the SNS-NS-PSS-PS election will be headed by Nikoli? on next elections. Amidst previous pressure, Boris Tadi? decided to call elections to be held on 6 May 2012, and a week later the Serbian Progressive Party-led coalition was officially formed, under the name of "Let's Get Serbia Moving" (Serbian Cyrillic: , romanized: Pokrenimo Srbiju). In April, SNS announced that Tomislav Nikoli? is their candidate for president and Jorgovanka Tabakovi? will be their candidate for the prime minister position. Shortly before elections, it was reported that the SNS officially had 340,000 members.
During the parliamentary election, SNS accused the Democratic Party of vote fraud. At a press conference that was held on 6 May, the deputy president Aleksandar Vu?i? stated that they won the election and that they won 24.4% of the vote. In the end, the coalition ended up getting 24.05% of the popular vote and 73 seats in the parliament while the Serbian Progressive Party gained 55 seats.
The presidential election was held on 6 May and later again on 20 May. The first runoff was held on the same day as the parliamentary election but since there was no candidate that won the majority, they ended up calling a second runoff on the 20 May, between the incumbent President Boris Tadi? and the Serbian Progressive Party nominee Tomislav Nikoli?. On 20 May, Nikoli? defeated Tadi? after winning 1,552,063 votes in the second runoff of the election.
Following the presidential election, Nikoli? stepped down as the president of the party and resigned from it. The Deputy President Aleksandar Vu?i? served as the Acting President of the party until the successor was elected. Vu?i? ended up being the only one who ran for the party leadership, and was elected on the 29 September 2012, with Jorgovanka Tabakovi? as the Deputy President of the party. Later in the December of the same year, the People's Party led by the former Mayor of Novi Sad, Maja Gojkovi?, merged into the Serbian Progressive Party.
The government was officially formed on 27 July 2012 after a majority vote in the National Assembly and was composed of the SNS-led "Let's Get Serbia Moving" coalition, the SPS-PUPS-JS coalition and United Regions of Serbia. Nikoli? appointed the President of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) as his Prime Minister while the Deputy President of the SNS, Aleksandar Vu?i?, was appointed as the First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia. One of the main priorities that this government promised was the integration of Serbia into the European Union, normalizing relations with the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo[note 1], fighting against crime and corruption and economic reforms. In reality, there were no economic reforms during this period and the government continued practicing the neoliberal economic system, which was implemented by the Democratic Party government in 2008. Initially, the government had 17 ministries and 19 members of the ministries. In September 2013, the government was reshuffled after the United Regions of Serbia moved to the opposition and the government then added one more ministry and three more members. This government ended up lasting only for almost two years. In the early 2014, SNS and SPS announced that the government and the parliament will be dissolved because of "insufficient political legitimacy". On the 29 January, President Nikoli? formally dissolved the parliament and the next parliamentary election was called to be held on 16 March.
Although the Prime Minister, Ivica Da?i?, held the power as the head of the government, many analysts described that Vu?i? had the most influence in the government because he was the head of the largest party in the governing coalition.
The parliamentary election was held on 16 March, in which the Serbian Progressive Party participated under its big tent coalition that they formed back in 2011. This time, the coalition was renamed to "Future We Believe In" (Serbian: ? ? , romanized: Budu?nost u koju verujemo) and two new parties joined the coalition, the Social Democratic Party of Serbia (SDPS) led by Rasim Ljaji? and Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) led by Vuk Dra?kovi?. Vu?i? gained more support during this period, especially after jailing the billionaire oligarch Miroslav Mi?kovi?. The "Future We Believe In" coalition ended up winning a majority of the seats in a landslide, winning 48.35% of the vote and 158 seats in the National Assembly while the SNS alone won 126 seats, marking the first electoral landslide since the 2000 parliamentary election. Since winning a majority vote, Vu?i? announced that the will be negotiating with leaders of other parties and Socialist Party of Serbia ended up being the only one that accepted the offer to join their government.
On the same day, election was held in Belgrade to elect a new Mayor. The election was supposed to take in late 2013 after Dragan ?ilas lost a non-confidence motion in the City Assembly, but the Temporary Council headed by Sini?a Mali ended up ruling until the election happened. The SNS-led coalition won the election with 43.62% of the vote and 63 seats in the City Assembly. Mali ended up becoming the mayor officially and served that role until 2018.
The second SNS-led government was formed on 27 April 2014 after a majority vote in the National Assembly and was composed of the SNS-led "Future We Believe In" coalition and the SPS-PUPS-JS coalition. Vu?i? was elected as the Prime Minister and the government was stable for the most of the time. The new SNS-led government adopted new laws that were needed for the future EU membership, and sought to implement a new agreement on normalizing ties with Kosovo[note 1]. Their priorities temporarily shifted when the catastrophic floods hit the country and pushing the economy deeper into recession. In 2015, Serbia was named as a semi-consolidated democracy and was still described under the democratic category. The government's plan was to attract foreign investors and to improve its business and environment, but they failed terribly to complete the large privatizations that were promised by SNS. The government ended up initiating a controversial project called Belgrade Waterfront (Serbian: ? ?, romanized: Beograd na vodi) in 2014 after an agreement with a private investment and development company called "Eagle Hills". The investment is focused on the creation of new luxury city buildings and malls. The project gained attention after many organizations accused the development of money laundering and corruption, lack of good urbanists, architects and economists, and demolition of many houses and buildings and in 2016 even a murder happened, which were organized by unknown personas who were never found. Protests were organized following these controversies which were headed by the "Do not let Belgrade d(r)own" organization. The government sought public support for austerity measures and for an arrangement with the International Monetary Fund. In early January 2016, Vu?i? called for a snap election because he said that "Serbia still needs four more years of stability to enter the European Union" and in March the parliament was officially dissolved.
The parliamentary election was held on 24 April, initially scheduled for March 2018 until Vu?i? called for a snap election in early January 2016. SNS participated again under its big tent coalition that has existed since 2011, this time under the name "Serbia Is Winning" (Serbian: , romanized: Srbija pobe?uje). They were also joined by the Party of United Pensioners of Serbia (PUPS) led by Milan Krkobabi? and Serbian People's Party (SNP) led by Nenad Popovi?. The coalition ended up winning 48.25% of the vote and 131 seats in the National Assembly while SNS alone won 93 seats but this time they ended up winning more votes than on the last parliamentary election. Vu?i? announced that the government will be formed in June but due to "external pressure" the government was formed in early August, 109 days after the election was held. The Socialist Party of Serbia remained as a government member and this time they were also joined by Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians. Non-governmental organizations and all of the opposition parties, except the Serbian Radical Party, accused the ruling party of election theft, and manipulation of votes which the Serbian Progressive Party constantly denied throughout the election.
The third SNS-led government was formed on 11 August 2016 after a majority vote in the National Assembly and was composed of the SNS-led "Serbia Is Winning" coalition and the SPS-PUPS-JS coalition, which have been in power since 2012. Vu?i? remained as the Prime Minister and the new government had 16 ministries. During this period, Vu?i? concentrated power for himself and Serbia has been also experiencing lack of independent media and shift to authoritarianism and because of it, it was described as partly-free. The SNS-led government continued to display intolerance to criticism from opposition parties, independent media and ordinary citizens and independent government bodies such as Ombudsman.
The Serbian Progressive Party never had a clear image of its ideology, and because of this it has been widely described as a catch-all party. However, the Serbian Progressive Party initially started out as a representation of the moderate wing of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) that criticized ?e?elj's radical irredentist and nationalist views and then-ruling Democratic Party, which they accused of corruption. Since coming to power, they have used populist rhetoric.
Nevertheless, the Serbian Progressive Party has been also described as conservative, national-conservative, and right-wing populist. Vu?i?'s rule, including his leadership of the Serbian Progressive Party, has been described by some academics as pragmatic and opportunist.
The economic positions of the Serbian Progressive Party are orientated towards neoliberalism. They have adopted their neoliberal stance prior to the 2012 election, and after coming to power, they have enacted it into practice.
SNS has been accused of having satellite parties, that includes the ruling SNS-led coalition members, numerous minority parties, far-right parties such as the Serbian Radical Party, Serbian Right, Serbian Party Oathkeepers, Leviathan Movement, and other parties such as Liberal Democratic Party, POKS, Democratic Party of Serbia, Serbia 21, Civic Democratic Forum, Party of Modern Serbia and League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina.
The Serbian Progressive Party supports the accession of Serbia into the European Union and maintains cooperation with the ruling parties of the countries that are a part of the European Union, such as the Christian Democratic Union in Germany, Fidesz in Hungary, and the Freedom Party of Austria. On 24 April 2013, SNS's representatives in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe joined the European People's Party as an associate member.
In its program, the Serbian Progressive Party stated that they advocate maintaining close relations with the United States. In 2012, its leaders met with Rudy Giuliani in Belgrade to discuss foreign consultations. They have retained good relations with the US presidents since they came to power.
The Serbian Progressive Party retains strong relations with the ruling Chinese Communist Party, including its leader Xi Jinping. Since 2012, when SNS took power, they have signed multiple party agreements with each other. SNS also addressed Xi Jinping and other high-ranked party leaders multiple times as "brothers" and "saviors" of Serbia.
The Serbian Progressive Party has been maintaining close relations with Russia and its president Vladimir Putin including the ruling United Russia party since their formation. They signed agreements for party cooperation in 2011, 2016 and 2019 to improve Serbia-Russia relations and strategic partnerships in the interests of both nations.
Viktor Orbán and Fidesz have a warm relationship with Aleksandar Vu?i? and his Serbian Progressive Party, with the foreign minister of Hungary campaigning for Vu?i? for the 2017 Serbian presidential election. Companies close to the Orbán government have won public contracts with the Serbian government. The Serbian government has also been accused of taking a similar approach to the Hungarian government towards the media. The Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (VMSZ) has connections to Fidesz and is member of EPP like SNS, and it has been supporting the SNS-led government since 2014.
Some have described the Serbian Progressive Party maintaining close cooperation with Milo ?ukanovi? and the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro, while Vu?i? and other officials have denied this claim.
Similar to Fidesz in Hungary, SNS maintains strong connections to parties of the Serbian diaspora in neighboring countries. The New Serb Democracy, Movement for Changes and Democratic People's Party that were a part of the For the Future of Montenegro coalition, were labeled as the "Vu?i?'s list" during the 2020 Montenegrin parliamentary election, the largest number of constituents of the new coalition were present at several meetings in Belgrade during 2019 and 2020 that were organized by Vu?i?, gathering "leaders of Serb communities" in Serbia's neighboring countries.
The Serb List in Kosovo retains close links to the government of Serbia and president Aleksandar Vu?i? and the Serbian Progressive Party in Macedonia ran together with VMRO-DPMNE in the 2020 North Macedonian parliamentary election. Under VMRO-DPMNE's and Nikola Gruevski's leadership the Northern Macedonia's foreign policy turned to pro-Russian, pro-Serbian and anti-Western one.
The party bodies of the Serbian Progressive Party are the assembly, the mainboard, the president, the deputy president, the vice-presidents of the mainboard, the presidency, the executive board, the statutory commission, the supervisory board, and the election headquarters.
The assembly is the highest body and it consists of a minimum of 3,200 delegates and a maximum of 4,000 delegates. Delegates can be by function and elected delegates while the delegates by the function are the president, deputy president, members of the presidency, members of the mainboard, presidents of the council and members of the supervisory board, the statutory commission and the executive board.
The mainboard is the highest decision-making body between the two sessions of the Assembly. The mainboard consists of members by functions and 300 elected members. Members by the function are president, deputy president, vice presidents of the mainboard, members of the presidency, members of the executive board, presidents of the council, president of the statutory commission, president of the supervisory board, president of the information service, international secretary, presidents and commissioners of the city and municipal boards, members of the parliament and mayors.
The president represents and manages the party. The deputy president replaces the president in case of his impediment or absence. The vice-presidents of the main board assist the president in performing the functions of the mainboard.
The presidency is an operational-political body that meets regularly, analyzes the current political situation, takes general political positions and performs other tasks necessary for continuous functioning. The presidency is composed of 50 members. Members of the presidency may be ex officio members and elected members. The members by the function are the president, the deputy president, the vice-presidents of the mainboard and the president of the executive board. The Serbian Progressive Party also has special organizational forms such as the Women Union, Youth Union and the Union of Pensioners. As of 2021, the Serbian Progressive Party is the largest political party in Europe by membership (excluding United Russia).
Freedom House's annual Nations in Transit report at the beginning of 2020 reported that, due to democratic backsliding, Serbia was no longer a democracy (as they had been classified since 2003) but had instead become a hybrid regime (in the "gray zone" between "democracies and pure autocracies"). The report cited "years of increasing state capture, abuse of power, and strongman tactics employed" by the Serbian president Aleksandar Vu?i?, and "Although the current SNS-led government came to power in 2012 promising to battle Serbia's widespread corruption, the problem appears to have worsened, not improved, in the years since." University of Gothenburg's V-DEM institute Deputy Director Anna Luhmann said that "the indexes of liberal democracy" have drastically deteriorated in Serbia, from 0.53 in 2009 to 0.25 in 2019 becoming the lowest in Western Balkans, putting it on 139th place of 179 countries ranked, therefore labeling it an "electoral autocracy", "mainly due to media censorship, the government's attempt to influence the work of the media", but also "a reduced space for the work of civil societies and academic institutions" as well as "the concern over the quality of the election system."
Various media owned by people linked to being close to the party have been sold to the state-owned Telekom for prices ten times their estimated worth, effectively transferring public money into the hands of several individuals while capturing media into government control. One of the largest examples is the purchase of "Kopernikus Corporation", which was sold for a staggering 195.5 million euros, while experts estimate that it is worth much less. Other examples include the purchases of "Radijus Vektor", sold for 108 million euros, of "Wireless Media", sold for 38 million euros, and various acquisitions of minor cable television and internet providers (such as Avcom d.o.o, Belgrade, Radijus Vektor d.o.o, Belgrade, Masko d.o.o, Belgrade BPP Ing d.o.o and Grocka). The aforementioned acquisitions led to the worsening of Telekom's financial situation, leading the company to issue bonds of value 23.5 billion dinars to refinance debts. The Serbian Anti-Corruption Council, however, remained silent. In 2017, Aleksandar Vu?i? labeled N1, the main Serbian independent media, a "Luxembourg TV with American capital" and a "CIA controlled TV".
|No.||President||Birth-Death||Term start||Term end|
|1||Tomislav Nikoli?||1952-||21 October 2008||24 May 2012|
|2||Aleksandar Vu?i?||1970-||24 May 2012||Incumbent|
|Year||Leader||Popular vote||% of popular vote||# of seats||Seat change||Coalition||Status|
|2008||Tomislav Nikoli?||Split from the Serbian Radical Party||21||--||opposition|
|Year||Leader||Popular vote||% of popular vote||# of seats||Seat change||Coalition||Status|
|Year||Candidate||1st round popular vote||% of popular vote||2nd round popular vote||% of popular vote|
Major positions held by Serbian Progressive Party members:
|President of Serbia||Aleksandar Vu?i?||2017-present|
|Prime Minister of Serbia||Ana Brnabi?||2017-present[c]|
|President of the National Assembly of Serbia||Maja Gojkovi?||2014-2020|
|President of the Government of Vojvodina||Igor Mirovi?||2016-present|
|Mayor of Belgrade||Zoran Radoji?i?||2018-present[d]|
|Governor of the National Bank of Serbia||Jorgovanka Tabakovi?||2012-present|
Tako ?e vladaju?a SNS sa oko 750.000 ?lanova uskoro prema?iti Savez komunista Jugoslavije koji je nekada brojao oko 900.000 ljudi...
Stoji? argues that for this reason the Serbian Progressive Party can be classified as a "catch-all" party, "driven to reach out to Eurosceptic and proRussian segments of the electorate in order to maximise its electoral gains
Amandman grupe od 21 narodnog poslanika Poslani?ke grupe ,,Napred Srbijo" na ?lan 42...
... Similar patterns could be found in Republika Srpska, where Milorad Dodik and his Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) has been dominant since 2006, and in Serbia, where the populist Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of ...
Srbija ima izuzetno dominantnu partiju SNS, koja prakti?no obuhvata ?itav politi?ki spektar i uzima pojedine delove desni?arske i populisti?ke ideologije, ali je isto tako i proevropska i liberalna. Tako da pojedine opozicione stranke forsiraju antievropsku retoriku, ali ne iz ideolo?kog ube?enja nego da bi se na svaki mogu?i na?in razlikovali od Aleksandra Vu?i?a
Srpsku naprednu stranku, njeni funkcioneri se ponekad pohvale da broji vi?e od 600 hiljada ?lanova, pa opet niko ne ponavlja da ?e slediti program SNS-a, nego da ?e ,,slediti put kojim nas vodi na? predsednik Aleksandar Vu?i?"
,,Kakva je to politika SNS to saznajem naj?ee od vas novinara, kakva je ideja i ideologija SNS - nje nema...ona nema ni program."
Ideologically, it is a combination of economic liberalism and cultural conservativism, aiming at the same time to boost the stagnating economy in neoliberal fashion, while promoting national unity and proudness through the cultural department.
This, and the continued popular support for the Progressives and especially Vu?i?, suggests that the government's rhe-toric might have succeeded in legitimating these policies.
Over time, the SNS has become more EU-oriented and has so became closer to the Democrats in terms of its policy profile. Its leaders are often seen meeting with EU officials.