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News 05 Jun 12

Belgrade Cleans Up After Election

The smiles on the faces of Serbian politicians are being peeled off Belgrade’s walls in the post-election clean-up.

Gordana Andric
BIRN
Belgrade

The determined and serious face of Boris Tadic, Serbia’s former president, the smile of the President-elect Tomislav Nikolic and the open arms of Cedomir Jovanovic, leader of the Liberals, will no longer stalk Belgraders all over the city, as authorities have started the post-election clean up.

More than half of the election campaign posters in the city centre were already removed in the first week following the presidential election, which was held on May 20th. The city’s secretariat for inspection is in charge of the cleaning and said that all the campaign posters will be removed in the coming weeks.

Parties were only allowed to advertise on billboards or pillars on Knez Mihailova Street, however, most hung posters wherever they found an empty space - on facades, electricity pylons or underground passages.

Although very popular in previous elections, garbage containers were not used this campaign, as party activists concluded they were not an appropriate place for putting up posters.

While the Progressives hung the largest number of unauthorised posters in Vozdovac, other parties followed suit in different Belgrade municipalities. Almost all parties, including the Democrats, Liberals and the United Regions of Serbia, advertised their candidates in places where it was prohibited.

“We found only one irregular poster of the Socialist Party of Serbia, near Crvena Zvezda football club stadium. When we informed them of this violation, they paid the penalty,” Zoran Markovic, assistant secretary for inspection, told daily Politika.

Markovic said that tenants of residential buildings are obliged to clean the walls of their buildings, while the city’s public companies are supposed to clean public buildings and public spaces.

Electricity Belgrade was the busiest public company in the post-election period, because their pylons were among the most popular advertising spaces.

The city’s inspection secretariat filed 150 misdemeanour charges against political parties for putting up posters in places not intended for propaganda. The fines range from 2,500 to 1 million dinars [€21-€8,600].

Since the launch of the election campaign in late March, 26 activists were caught hanging posters and 15 paid the fine on the spot. The fines range from 2,500 to 10,000 dinars [€21-€86].

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