CRTA says elections were not free and fair

NEWS 23.02.202421:44 0 komentara
Izvor: CRTA

The CRTA democracy watchdog organization said on Friday that the December 17 elections in Serbia were not free and fair.

“The extraordinary parliamentary and Belgrade elections were not free and fair,” CRTA said in the summary of its final election report. The organization fielded observers at the elections.

It said that the outcome of the elections resulted from “the unlawful advantages gained by the ruling party, with the complicity of several state institutions and authorities – primarily the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as well as bodies of certain local self-governments”.

CRTA said that institutions disregarded the law from the start which lead to the fact that the results of the local elections in Belgrade did not reflect the will of the electorate. This “significantly compromised the legitimacy of the outcome of the parliamentary elections”.

“Responsible institutions are ignoring a mass of evidence and indications of not only gross violations of democratic principles but also a series of criminal acts in the election process. This further reinforced the principles of impunity and legal uncertainty, for which prosecutorial bodies bear the greatest responsibility,” the report warned.

It said that pressure on voters, manipulation of voter rolls, falsified signatures, abuse of personal data and the falsified publication date of the election results in the Official Gazette were all meant to prevent the opposition from filing appeals with the Constitutional Court before the legal deadline expired.

CRTA said that the violations of the law would not have been possible without the direct involvement of institutions, i.e. civil servants at various levels of hierarchy. “Initiating criminal and disciplinary proceedings to establish responsibility and punish the initiators and perpetrators of the criminal acts destroying the electoral integrity is a prerequisite for any further discussion on the electoral process,” it said.

“From the observation mission’s standpoint, it is disturbing to note that chronic problems of elections in Serbia have been somewhat overshadowed by the onslaught and weight of evidence about illegal and illegitimate electoral engineering, including organized voter migrations. These include political clientelism and pressures on voters, media inequality, misuse of public resources and office – which were even more pronounced in comparison with previous elections,” CRTA said.

The CRTA Election Observation Mission reported serious irregularities at 13 percent of polling stations for the parliamentary elections, and 21 percent for the Belgrade elections.

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