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news 12 Apr 12

Serbia Short of Cash For Presidential Polls

Watchdog organisation warns that costs of staging early presidential elections are three times higher than the budget reserve from which the government plans to provide funds.

Bojana Barlovac
BIRN
Belgrade

Vladimir Goati, head of Transparency Serbia, part of the global corruption watchdog, says that there is not enough money in the budget for the organisation of early presidential polls.

"The reserves are less than the funds needed for the campaign, and I hope that there are alchemists out there who can somehow bridge the gap," Goati said.

According to Transparency's data, the organising of presidential polls will cost about 16.3 million euro while the budget reserved for them stands at about 5.4 million euro.

Goati says the state will end up having to take funds from other budget items to compensate for the shortage.

The problem has arisen because the state had no plans to hold presidential elections this year.

However, on April 4, President Boris Tadic resigned nine months before the end of his mandate to enable early presidential elections to be held together with general and local elections on May 6.

The move was designed to be seen as economical, as the country will save money by holding all three elections at once.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic has called a government's session for Thursday when they will discuss readjusting the budget to provide more funds for the presidential election. He has not yet disclosed how this will be done.

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