The Republic of Serbia is a Parliamentary democracy. Most executive powers are vested in the Prime Minister and government, who are elected by Parliament. The Serbian Parliament is made up of 250 deputies, who are elected for four-year terms, although Parliament can be dissolved by the President upon the recommendation of the Government or if no new Government can be formed following a vote of no confidence. The President of the Republic is also directly elected for a five-year term and is not allowed to serve for more than two mandates. Although the President is directly elected, their office holds few executive powers.
The current Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, was elected in elections held on April 2nd, 2017, securing an absolute majority of votes cast in the first round. The last Parliamentary elections were held on April 24th, 2016, with a coalition gathered around the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) winning 131 out of 250 seats, thus securing an absolute majority. Despite this, the SNS choose to bring the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) into government, in order to secure an even bigger majority, along with the support of several parties representing Serbia’s ethnic minorities.
Serbia began its transition away from Communism in 1990, with the first multi-party elections held in late 1990. At the time, Serbia was still a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. However, unlike many other ex-Communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, where the transition from Communism resulted in the establishment democratic political systems, in Serbia a new type of authoritarian political system was established under the rule of Slobodan Milosevic, a former Communist. It was only with elections in 2000s and the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic that Serbia began its transition to a democratic political system.
While Serbia made considerable progress in consolidating democracy and democratic institutions in the period after 2000, following the coming of the SNS to power in 2012, and particularly from 2014 when the party secured an absolute majority in Parliament, it began to backslide on democratic freedoms. The country’s democracy score, as measured by Freedom House, has declined consistently in 2015, 2016 and 2017, reaching its lowest level since 2004. The country’s media freedom score has declined particularly sharply.