AP: Repeat of Belgrade elections despite previous declaration of victory by SNS

NEWS 04.03.202409:01
N1/Marina Pupavac

A key vote for control of Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, will be repeated following protests over alleged election fraud in the December elections, reported the American news agency Associated Press (AP).

The AP said the announcement of repeat elections follows months of soaring political tensions that broke out after the right-wing Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) declared victory in the December 17 election.

But the main opposition alliance, Serbia Against Violence, have insisted they were robbed of a victory in Belgrade and that the parliamentary vote that took place at the same time was also marred by widespread irregularities, said the AP.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his party have denied any wrongdoing, dismissing fraud claims as “fabrications aimed at destabilizing Serbia,” the AP reported.

International election observers, however, said earlier this week that the December election was held in “unjust conditions,” in part because of the president’s involvement and systemic advantages for the ruling party, noted the news agency.

The opposition and some local election monitors have claimed that voters from abroad were added to voters’ lists in Belgrade and were bused in on election day to vote for the ruling party, said the AP.

It added that the office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) specified the ballot was “marred by harsh rhetoric, bias in the media, pressure on public sector employees and misuse of public resources.”

It listed a set of recommendations for Serbia to fulfill before its next vote.

It is not clear when the new vote would be held.

The AP reported that opposition politicians welcomed the OSCE report, saying that “the announcement of the new vote showed that Vucic’s party was defeated in Belgrade after his decade-long tight grip on power.”

Serbia is a candidate for European Union membership, but Vucic has faced accusations of curbing democratic freedoms since taking a firm grip on power in over a decade ago, reported the AP.