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After new survey shows that one in five Serbs was offered a bribe in exchange for a vote, Serbia's corruption watchdog calls for an investigation.
Almost a million Serbs - one in five voters - say they were offered money, gifts, services or business in order to secure their votes for a particular party in the May 6 general, local and presidential elections.
The alarming claims come in a survey entitled "Corruption Benchmarking Survey" conducted by UNDP Serbia and TNS Medium Gallup.
It aimed to explore Serbian citizens' perception of the level of corruption in Serbia as well as their own direct experience of corruption.
"Most frequently mentioned are pressures on citizens to vote a certain way [57 per cent]," the report reads.
"The least frequently noted [method] is the stealing of votes [45 per cent]," the report added.
Nemanja Nenadic, program director for the NGO Transparency International in Serbia, called on the authorities to investigate the claims.
"It is essential that the police, the prosecution and the Anti-Corruption Agency call on all citizens who have specific knowledge of the buying of votes and the organisers of these activities and then take appropriate action," Nenadic said.
He added that funds used for this purpose are certainly not listed in party campaign finance reports, which means that they must come either from hidden donors or from misused public resources.
Nenadic also said called the country's Prosecutor's office to disclose the results of probe it carried out in the cases reported so far.
So far, criminal lawsuits for buying votes were filed in the Eastern towns of Bor and Prokuplje.
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