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Socialist Party of Serbia
Социјалистичка партија Србије
SPS1
Leader Ivica Dačić
Deputy President Žarko Obradović
Vice-presidents Zoran Lilić

Milutin Mrkonjić
Slavica Đukić-Dejanović

President of the Executive Committee Branko Ružić
Spokesperson Đorđe Milićević
Founder Slobodan Milošević
Coalition Labour Option
Slogan Устани Србијо!

Stand up, Serbia!

Founded 1990
Preceded by League of Communists of Serbia
Headquarters Belgrade
State Serbia
Youth wing Young Socialists
Membership (2022) 48,725
Ideology Social democracy

Democratic socialism
Left-wing nationalism

Political position Centre-left to Left wing
National Assembly
8 / 250
Official colors Red, blue, white

The Socialist Party of Serbia (Serbian: Социјалистичка партија Србије, СПС, SPS) is a left-wing political party in Serbia. Officially, it is described as a social democratic and left nationalist party. It was founded in 1990 by Slobodan Milošević as a merger of the League of Communists of Serbia and Socialist Alliance of the Working People of Serbia. The party is the leader of the electoral coalition Labour Option. The party describes itself as centre-left, a position disputed by critics.

HistoryEdit

The Socialist Party of Serbia was founded on June 16, 1990 by Slobodan Milošević as a merger between the League of Communists of Serbia and the Socialist Alliance of the Working People of Serbia, led by Radmila Anđelković.

Its membership from its foundation in 1990 to 1997 involved many elements of the social strata of Serbia, including: state administrators, including business management elites of state-owned enterprises; employees in the state-owned sector; less privileged groups farmers; and dependants (the unemployed and pensioners). From 1998 to 2000, its membership included: apparatchiks at administrative and judicial levels; the nouveau riche, whose business success was founded solely from their affiliation with the regime; top army and police officials and a large majority of the police force. Large numbers of people became members simply for reasons of patronage: to maintain or gain important positions, while holding little commitment to the SPS program. Following its foundation, the SPS demanded strict loyalty to its leader, Milošević, by top party officials and any sign of independence from such loyalty led to expulsion from the party. Anyone who went against policy as defined by the party leadership could face sanctions or expulsion.

The SPS during the Milošević era, has been accused of using an authoritarian style of rule and allowing a criminal economy to exist in Serbia including personal profiteering by the Milošević family from illegal business transactions in the arms trade, cigarettes, oil, and drugs. Opposition media to the SPS or Milošević's administration faced high fines; media members involved were fired or arrested; anti-terrorist and special operations police units seized radio equipment of opposition supporters. In April 1999, the owner and distributor of the most popular opposition daily newspaper in Serbia, Slavko Ćuruvija, was killed, for which the opposition accused the SPS and Slobodan Milošević. The SPS maintained the Communist era policy of maintaining connection with official trade unions, however independent trade unions faced hostility and their activists were brutalized by police while in custody.

The party won the first elections in Serbia with 194 out of 250 seats and 46% of the popular vote. From 1993 it governed in coalition with other parties – initially with the Serbian Radical Party, and later the New Democracy Party and the Yugoslav Left, a party led by Milošević's wife Mirjana Marković.

With the ousting of Milošević in 2000, the party became a part of the opposition. In the 2003 Serbian general elections, the party won 7.6% of the popular vote and 22 out of 250 seats in the National Assembly of Serbia. In 2004, however, its candidate in the presidential election, Ivica Dačić, placed fifth with 3.6% of the vote.

In 2007 parliamentary elections, the Socialist Party of Serbia won 16 seats with 227,580 or 5.64% of votes. It formed a sole parliamentary group, with Ivica Dačić as president and Žarko Obradović as vice-president. It won 14 seats outright while a single seat was given to its new partner, the Movement of Veterans of Serbia and non-partisan Borka Vučić, who became the transitional speaker, also received a seat.

In the 2008 parliamentary election, the SPS and the Party of United Pensioners of Serbia (PUPS) have strengthened their links by forming a coalition, on which United Serbia and Movement of Veterans of Serbia were present. The coalition won 20 seats with 313,896 or 7.58 percent of votes. SPS and its coalition partners entered post-election coalition with the For a European Serbia group.

The government led by the Democratic Party was overthrown in 2011. As a part of the ruling coalition, the SPS-led coalition lost half of its seats in the parliament, falling from 20 to 10 seats, which left the SPS with only 5 seats.

During the civil war, the party tried to reunite Serbia by forming a big tent coalition, which would include the SNS-led coalition, the DS-led coalition, the SPS-led coalition, and the former SRS. Only the Democratic Party accepted the idea, while SNS and SRS didn't answer to the proposal at all. As a result, SPS boycotted the Serbian parliament and all other state institutions until the end of the war.

After the war, the party lost all of the seats in the Assembly, as the Serbian Radical Party constituted the transitional National Assembly with all MPs belonging to the SRS. The SPS was the only party that did not demand immediate elections. Party leader Ivica Dačić said, when asked about the elections: "Serbia should be rebuilt first. The damned war destroyed Serbia's economy. We need to rebuild Serbian cities and villages first and then we can have all the elections we want."

The party was also the only opposition party that officially supported wars in Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Bosnia in 2016 and the Serbian participation in the Central War of 2019.

The party formed a coalition called Labour Option in 2014, together with the Party of United Pensioners of Serbia, United Serbia, and the Social Democratic Party of Serbia, later joined by the Party of Socialists (2015) and Socialist Movement (2016). The coalition contested in the 2014 elections, winning 8.2% of the popular vote and 23 seats in the National Assembly. Ivica Dačić, the coalition's candidate for president, won 8.3% of the vote and came in third.

In the 2018 parliamentary elections, the coalition won 5.2% of the vote and 13 seats in the parliament, mostly because a large number of Bulgarian, Albanian and Hungarian parties contested on those elections. Ivica Dačić contested for president again and came in third with 5.8% of the vote.

The coalition contested in the 2022 elections and won 6.2% of the vote and 16 seats. The presidental candidate was again Ivica Dačić, who won 6.3% of the vote.

Notable membersEdit

  • Ivica Dačić, current party leader (since 2006), former Minister of Internal Affairs (2008-2011)
  • Žarko Obradović, deputy president, former Minister of Education (2008-2011)
  • Zoran Lilić, vice-president, former President of Yugoslavia (1993-1997)

Former membersEdit

  • Milomir Minić, former Prime Minister of Serbia (2000-2001), left in 2008

Electoral resultsEdit

Socialist Party of Serbia election results
Year Seats in Assembly Seats won Seat change Popular vote % of popular vote Notes
1990 250 194 +194 4,003,287 46.09
1992 250 101 -93 2,049,496 28.77
1993 250 123 +22 2,526,481 36.65
1997 250 110 (90) -13 (-33) 2,318,036 34.32 In coalition
2000 250 37 -73 957,540 13.76 In coalition
2003 250 22 -15 520,994 7.61
2007 250 16 -6 354,626 5.64
2008 250 20 (11) +4 (-5) 471,570 7.58 In coalition
2014 250 23 (15) +3 787,934 8.17 In coalition
2018 250 13 (7) -10 2,696,447 5.20 In coalition
2022 250 16 (8) +3 (+1) 3,041,144 6.19 In coalition

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