German Police Officer Dies After Attack At Anti-Islam Rally By Afghan-Born Man – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

4 minutes, 26 seconds Read

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned on the title ofthis site


BELGRADE – The ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) appears headed for victory in a repeat election in the capital, Belgrade, and elsewhere after an earlier round did not produce a clear winner and led to opposition protests over what many critics saw as illegal election interference by the SNS.

The opposition also complained of irregularities in Serbia’s June 2 vote, leaving the political environment tense in the Balkan nation of 7.1 million people.

Based on 51 percent of processed samples in Belgrade, polling firm CeSID projected that the SNS, backed by President Aleksandar Vucic, was leading at 53 percent, with the closest competitor — center-right Kreni-Promeni (Move-Change) led by Savo Manojlovic — second at 17.2 percent.

“This is…an incredible victory,” Vucic said, adding in a news conference that his party would have a majority in the 110-seat Belgrade City Assembly and also in the northern city of Novi Sad.

However, Manojlovic said his coalition would not recognize the results. “These were most irregular elections ever,” he told supporters late on June 2.

Turnout was lower than in the December 2023 elections, as some opposition parties decided not to participate, alleging that conditions for democratic and fair elections had not been met.

Opposition coalitions Serbia Against Violence and NADA (Hope) accused the coalition led by the SNS of electoral theft in the December 17 vote, and numerous irregularities were identified by both international and domestic observer missions.

Serbian authorities have repeatedly denied that there were any serious electoral irregularities.

Observers and opposition parties in the June 2 election again reported what they said were irregularities during the day.

The nongovernmental CRTA observer organization said it had filed seven criminal complaints over alleged irregularities at polling stations, claiming its members had recorded incidents of the organized transporting of voters to the polls and money being exchanged for votes.

Opposition representatives also reported that so-called “call centers” run by the SNS were attempting to influence voting in Belgrade and Novi Sad.

The opposition says the call centers are being used by the SNS to bribe voters and that they contain alternative voting lists, reflecting allegations made during the earlier round of balloting.

WATCH: Belgrade voters speaking to RFE/RL expressed lukewarm enthusiasm and low expectations for the repeat vote.

Ana Brnabic, a former SNS prime minister and current parliament speaker, denied that any improper activities were being carried out at the call centers.

“We have a call center. We have members who, on Election Day, invite other members and sympathizers, family members, neighbors, and friends to ask them to go to the polls and vote,” she wrote on social media.

“What’s the problem? Apparently in that instead of sitting in their call centers and working, they’re sitting in ours wondering why parties have call centers,” she added.

Police in the northwestern Serbian city of Novi Sad claimed that some officers had been attacked, although law enforcement officials added that “there have been no serious incidents.”

Following voting in December, no party was able to form a majority in the Belgrade City Assembly in an election that was highly criticized by international observers who cited “irregularities” in the local and national votes.

Those concerns echoed opposition accusations that President Aleksandar Vucic’s ruling SNS party and its allies had improperly bused in voters and otherwise compromised the election, particularly in Belgrade.

Despite the alleged infractions and a strong showing in the nationwide vote by Vucic’s party, SNS opponents including the Serbia Against Violence coalition formed after twin mass shootings last year garnered enough support in the capital to fuel large street protests and mobilize anti-Vucic sentiment.

An amendment to Serbia’s local-election laws allowed for the voting in Belgrade to coincide with previously scheduled elections in Novi Sad, Nis, and other cities and municipalities.

But some opposition groups said they would still boycott the voting because problems including with the voter registry, undue influence by local power brokers, intimidation, and other problematic aspects had not been fixed.

A working group comprising ruling and opposition representatives was formed in late April to address some of the 25 recommendations from the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to improve the vote process. ODIHR observers are in Serbia for the June 2 voting.

Representatives of the SNS and coalition partners denied accusations of election fraud and promised they would implement all 25 recommendations from the ODIHR.

In Belgrade, voters elected representatives to four-year terms in the 110-member City Assembly who in turn vote on a mayor.

“I’m not particularly involved in politics, but I’m aware that we should go to the elections and vote for the one whose ideology suits us most,” Nina, a voter in the capital, told RFE/RL’s Balkan Service on election day.

She said she didn’t expect “anything special” from the vote.

Another Belgrade voter, said politicians are “full of promises” that they forget just as soon as they’re elected. “You know, in my lifetime, that’s happened four times, so people should come to their senses.”

The unified, pro-European opposition campaigned fiercely in Belgrade ahead of the voting in December on the message that taking the capital could be the first step toward ousting Vucic and his allies, who have governed since 2012.

Vucic has embraced Russian and Chinese trade and diplomatic ties and resisted EU calls for Belgrade to join sanctions on Russia over its full-scale invasion of Ukraine since February 2022.

Similar Posts

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop