09:50 18 Dec 2023

Serbia's president's party is leading in parliamentary elections, opposition claims fraud

Олександр Вучич, фото з відкритих джерел

On Sunday, December 17, extraordinary parliamentary elections were held in Serbia. The ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) is in the lead. However, the opposition claims violations and falsification of the vote.

The country's public broadcaster, PTC, writes about counting votes with reference to the Serbian Center for Free Elections and Democracy (CeSID), Rubryka reports.

So far, 88.4% of the votes have been counted:

  • SNS won 46.2% of the vote, i.e. 128 mandates,
  • the Serbia Against Violence party was supported by 23.7% of voters — 65 mandates.

The top five also included:

  • Socialist Party of Serbia with 6.6% of the vote;
  • NADA coalition with 4.9%;
  • "We are the voice of the people" with 4.8% of votes.

However, the Guardian writes that election observers and independent local media have reported election violations.

In particular, observers from the independent Center for Research, Transparency, and Accountability (CRTA) spoke about this.

"The problems that marked December 17 were particularly pronounced in Belgrade and were caused primarily by the need to influence the electoral will of the capital's citizens. That is why we believe that in the case of Belgrade, the numbers cannot speak for themselves and that they must be interpreted in the context of intense violations, which marked the events at the polling stations and between them," the organization said.

As the media outlet writes, the CRTA expressed its "greatest concern" about cases of organized movement of illegal voters from other countries to Belgrade.

They also reported cases when voters were given money allegedly to vote for the ruling party and the presence of outsiders at polling stations.

For its part, the authorities denied claims of wrongdoing.

Prime Minister Ana Brnabić called the accusations "lies designed to spread panic," the Guardian notes.

The opposition party, Serbia Against Violence, accused Vucic's party of falsifying the election and said it would file a complaint with the State Election Commission.

Why are early elections held in the country?

In November, Aleksandar Vučić, at the suggestion of the Serbian government, dissolved the National Assembly, i.e., the country's parliament, and announced early elections. The country's authorities said this decision will help "ensure a higher degree of democracy, reduce tension due to opposition in society, and reject hate speech."

This happened as a result of a series of thousands of anti-government protests against the backdrop of two mass murders in May.

What is Serbia's position regarding the war in Ukraine?

The President of Serbia, Aleksandr Vučić, said that his country is not against the sale of weapons to intermediaries who can later transfer them to Ukraine to fight against Russian aggression. Earlier, the American mass media, citing secret documents from the Pentagon, reported that Serbia had agreed or had already sent weapons to Ukraine.

Recently, Prime Minister Ana Brnabić said that Serbia is ready to participate in the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine and support its European integration, transferring its experience.

As reported, in July, the government of Serbia decided to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine in order to overcome the consequences of Russian troops undermining the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant.

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