A 25-year-old parody politician, known by his fans as “Beli,” is a candidate for president of Serbia who has attracted the support of as much as 11 percent of the voting population.
He is far from your average candidate.
According to reporting by the Associated Press, Beli, whose name is Luka Maksimovic, wears a white suit and tie, eccentric jewelry and a man bun. Beli can be seen campaigning atop a noble white steed and surrounded by bodyguards, forming the infamous “Beli Caravan.”
Maksimovic has attracted a significant following in Serbia, especially from younger voters who have been disaffected by political corruption in the nation. Beli has released humorous campaign videos where he can be seen doing push-ups or sucking a raw egg as a point of contrast to the more policy-oriented campaign videos released by his 10 opponents.
Serbian political polls have predicted that approximately 11 percent of the vote will be cast in his favor. While Beli leads several other traditional candidates, the current Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic, who is a populist himself, is expected to come out on top.
While Beli may not win the race, Serbian pundits have been shocked by the success of the younger and inexperienced candidate.
Beli told the Associated Press: “Citizens are so anxious to see me that I must sneak in unannounced to avoid huge crowds descending on me!”
The white-suited folk hero has performed many unorthodox stunts throughout his campaign. He climbed a 19th century Serbian statue and shouted “I am here to save you people!” from the top. Beli claims that fortune tellers have foretold his victory.
Maksimovic’s political character first ran for local office in a town outside Belgrade about a year ago, where he and his “Hit it Hard Citizens’ Group” netted nearly 20 percent of the vote, translating into 12 seats on the local counsel.
We will know whether or not “Beli Preletacevic” achieves similar success on the national stage after Serbia casts their vote this Sunday.
Read the AP’s full story here.