Serbia’s governing populists assert a comprehensive triumph in the election amidst allegations of electoral manipulation.

Serbia Against Violence opposition alliance has declared that it will not accept the results of the parliamentary elections and will request a redo of the vote. The ruling populist party, however, has comfortably emerged as the winner in Sunday’s elections, with the Belgrade local election stirring up political tension due to allegations of irregularities. The Belgrade local election saw the opposition group being denied victory, resulting in their decision to dispute the outcome and demand a rerun.

The parliamentary and local election in Serbia witnessed a contest between the Serbian Progressive party led by President Aleksandar Vučic and the Serbia Against Violence opposition alliance. The Serbian Progressive party has secured 47% of the parliamentary vote, followed by Serbia Against Violence with 23%, according to a nearly complete preliminary vote count conducted by the state election commission.

The final results for the city hall in Belgrade are yet to be announced, but polling agencies Ipsos and Cesid projected that the Serbian Progressive party won 38% of the ballots in Belgrade, while Serbia Against Violence obtained 35%. Nonetheless, Serbia Against Violence has accused fraud, citing various reports of irregularities during the campaign and on voting day.

Election observers and independent media have also reported irregularities, including the mass transportation of ethnic Serbs from neighboring Bosnia to vote in Belgrade. Serbia Against Violence has alleged that 40,000 identity documents were issued to individuals who do not reside in the capital city. Furthermore, a monitoring team was reportedly assaulted and their vehicle attacked with baseball bats in a town in northern Serbia. Additionally, allegations of voters being coerced or bribed to support the ruling party have surfaced.

The independent Center for Research, Transparency, and Accountability group, responsible for monitoring elections in Serbia, stated that the problems encountered during the election day on the 17th of December were particularly severe in Belgrade, primarily attributable to attempts to manipulate the electoral will of citizens.

President Vučic and his party have denied these allegations. In response, the opposition has expressed its intention to file official complaints and organize a street protest on Monday. The opposition politician Marinika Tepić emphasized that the large number of non-resident voters in Serbia, especially in Belgrade, constitutes a blatant violation of the law. Tepić vowed to exhaust all legal means available to protect the democratic expression of the people’s will.

Although the election did not include the presidency, the ruling authorities, backed by pro-government media, treated the campaign as a de facto referendum on President Vučic. Serbia Against Violence, a pro-European Union alliance, comprises parties that had been at the forefront of months-long street protests earlier this year, triggered by consecutive mass shootings in May.

Serbia, a Balkan country with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia itself, has been a candidate for European Union membership since 2014. However, it has faced allegations of a gradual erosion of democratic freedoms in recent years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *