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news 09 Mar 17

Serbs Mock Presidential Poll by 'Selling' Votes Online

As the presidential campaign heats up in Serbia, some voters are mocking the corrupt culture of Balkan politics with tongue-in-cheek offers to sell their votes online to the highest bidder.

Maja Zivanovic
BIRN
Belgrade

Photo: Pixabay

A Serbian voter called Vladimir, from Vrbas, a town in Serbia's northern Vojvodina province, is offering to sell his vote in the upcoming presidential elections for a stiff price on the popular online e-commerce website Kupujem Prodajem.

Tongue in cheek, his advert posted on March 7 read: “I am selling my vote, the party is irrelevant. Reason for sale: I give up. Exchange possible for Canadian citizenship and farm in Canada”.

The price of his vote is an eye-watering 10.5 million euros.

Serbia's presidential elections are scheduled for April 2. While buying and selling votes is naturally illegal, parties are routinely accused of offering would-be voters de facto bribes - hence the craze for spoof adverts.

Another voter, also from Vojvodina, meanwhile posted an ad on the e-commerce website Limundo offering to rent his cow to the ruling coalition parties to make a promotional video featuring animals.

The advert clearly made light of previous election campaigns in Serbia that saw candidates visiting villages and even cuddling cows to promote themselves as people who care about farmers.

“I’m renting a cow for the making of a video for the presidential elections; the offer is valid only for the ruling coalition because it has all the finances[ all others are suspicious to me, even the non-governmental sector,” this Novi Sad resident wrote.

“We’ll go to the registered farm and there we encounter the arduous life of farmers, shake hands next to the cows and take photos - and all that over three hours,” the voter explained, adding that successful bidder would be allowed to cuddle the cow.

The price for the rent of the cow was set at around 160 euros. However, after local media discovered his ad, the Limundo administrators closed the auction.

Selling votes in elections in Balkans is a common theme. Ahead of last year's elections in Bosnia and in Montenegro, local media reported on the phenomenon of numerous voters posting not-so-serious adverts offering to sell their votes to the highest bidder.

While the sale price of 10.5 million of euros clearly reflects a jaundiced view of Serbian politics, some voters set more realistic prices of around only 25 euros, in Bosnia, for example, in the elections held last September.

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