German Foreign Office on elections: Unacceptable for EU candidate country

NEWS 18.12.202323:05
Reuters/ Djordje Kojadinovic

Germany’s Foreign Office also reacted to the results of Serbian elections and to the events surrounding the elections.

“Serbia has voted, but OSCE ODIHR reports misuse of public resources, voter intimidation and cases of vote buying. This is unacceptable for a country with EU candidate status,” posted the German Foreign Office on the X social media platform.

Although Serbia’s early parliamentary elections offered voters a choice between political alternatives and freedoms of expression and assembly were generally respected, pressure on voters as well as the decisive involvement of the President and the ruling party’s systemic advantages undermined the election process overall, international observers said in a statement on Monday.

The joint observation mission from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and the European Parliament (EP) found that the legal framework is adequate to carry out democratic elections.

However, it said that there are still numerous issues to address, and that, in these elections, observers noted the misuse of public resources, the lack of separation between the official functions and campaign activities, and intimidation and pressure on voters, including cases of vote buying.

Austrian MEP Andreas Schieder, who was a member of the observation mission at the Serbian elections, strongly criticized the events surrounding the vote and called for “more justice and democracy.”

Head of the Social Democratic Party of Austria delegation Schieder called for an independent investigation into all reported irregularities.

“We applaud the Serbian citizens for a good turnout, higher than in the previous elections, clearly showing determination to decide about their future. It is therefore truly disturbing to read credible reports about fraud and attempts by (Serbian President Aleksandar) Vucic’s regime to influence the results. The news about buses of non-residents coming to vote in Belgrade is shocking. Theft of votes, bribery and corruption must not be allowed in a democratic world,” said Schieder.

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament also called for an independent investigation into all reported irregularities and expressed their full support to people in Serbia who “demand justice, democracy and a European future.”