- Bosnia and Herzegovina
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This spring almost 7 million Serbians are entitled to vote in presidential, general, provincial and local elections.
The elections for the presidential, local and general elections will be held on the same day, May 6.
Boris Tadic resigned as President of Serbia on April 4 nine months before the end of his mandate, paving the way for an early election.
Tadic and the government said it would save money to organise elections for all levels of government on the same day.
General, provincial and local elections were called on March 13 and the presidential vote was called on April 5.
Who can vote?
About 6.7 million people are eligible to vote in the presidential, general and local elections. In the election in the northern province of Vojvodina, about 1.7 million people are eligible to vote.
The ministry for public administration is currently compiling a single national electoral roll to replace the various lists compiled by local authorities. The list, which is expected to be complete 20 days before the elections, will contain exact information on the number of voters. In the 2008 elections, 6.7 million people were eligible.
The single national list will enable voters to cast ballots at any polling station in the country. In previous elections, Serbs could vote only at their registered place of residence. Thus, a person who has registered as a resident of the Belgrade municipality of Vracar could not vote anywhere else.
The voting system:
The president is elected in a direct election with the mandate for five years.
Candidates must gather 10,000 signatures of supporters in order to submit candidacy.
They must submit their candidacy to the Republic Election Committee at least 20 days before the election takes place.
The new president must win an absolute majority of votes of those who cast ballots.
If no candidate wins more than 50 per cent of the votes in the first round, the two top candidates go into the second round that must be held within 15 days.
In the second round, the candidate with the highest number of votes wins.
In the general election, Serbian citizens will vote for 250 deputies whose mandate lasts four years.
The whole of Serbia is a single electoral unit. Deputies are elected through a party-list proportional representation system.
Seats are allocated in proportion to the number of votes won by each list, using the highest quotient system. If two or more lists have the same quotient, the seat goes to the list with the larger number of votes.
On each list every third candidate must be a member of the sex that is less represented in the list. Unless 30 per cent or more of the list are representatives of less represented gender, the list will not be taken into account and the party will be told to revise it.
The threshold for parties to enter parliament is 5 per cent. This does not apply to parties representing ethnic minorities.
This will be the first election in which parties have to submit blocked lists and in which mandates will be awarded according to the order of names on the list.
Until now, parties could award seats to people from their lists as they wanted, regardless of their position on the list.
The President gives a mandate to whichever deputy commands a majority in parliament to form a new government. He or she thus becomes the prime minister. However, parliament must approve the prime minister and her/his cabinet.
In Serbia’s political system, the Prime Minister holds most executive power, while the President manages foreign policy and commands the armed forces.
However, since the 2008 general election, after which Mirko Cvetkovic became Prime Minister, many believe power has essentially resided with Boris Tadic.
Provincial elections will be held in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, which has its own different and more complex voting system.
Of 120 deputies in the provincial assembly, 60 are elected under the same system used for general elections. Vojvodina is also a single electoral unit and seats are awarded through a party-list proportional representation system.
The threshold for the parties to enter the provincial assembly is also 5 per cent, except for ethnic minority parties.
The other 60 deputies in the chamber are elected through a two-round majority electoral system. Although elections by both systems are held on the same day, for the elections by majority system the province is divided to 60 electoral units.
In the majority system, candidates who win an absolute majority in the first round become deputies. In units where no candidate wins an absolute majority, the first two candidates with the highest number of votes go into the second round.
In the majority electoral system, one candidate is elected for 39 of the province’s 45 municipalities. The six largest municipalities have more; seven are elected from Novi Sad, four from Subotica, three from Pancevo, three from Zrenjanin and two each from Kikinda and Sombor.
This combined system was chosen to ensure that each municipality is represented in parliament. This is opposite to the practice in the national parliament, where smaller towns and cities are far less represented.
Voters are also electing local authorities for 150 municipalities and 24 cities.
The system is the same as for general elections. Seats are awarded through a party-list proportional representation system with a 5 per cent threshold for all but ethnic minority parties and with every third candidate on the lists having to be a member of the less represented gender.
The presidents of the municipalities and mayors are elected by municipal and city assemblies.
In Belgrade and Nis, elections are being held on two levels, as these two cities are divided into several municipalities. Belgrade has 17 and Nis has five.
In the local elections, voters in these two cities have to fill in two ballot papers. With one they vote for the party they wish to rule their municipality and with other they vote for the city government.
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