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News 06 May 16

Serbian Opposition Maintains Pressure over Election Flaws

Four Serbian opposition coalitions are continuing to demand that the authorities investigate all alleged irregularities at the recent parliamentary polls and plan to ask for an overhaul of election law.

Sasa Dragojlo

Leaders of Serbian opposition parties at a protest on Saturday. Photo: Beta.

The four opposition coalitions said they will not drop their demand for all the alleged irregularities to be fully investigated by the Republic Electoral Commission, RIK, even though all of them made it into parliament at the April 24 polls.

The coalitions around the Democratic Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Enough is Enough movement and the Democratic Party of Serbia-Dveri alliance also said they will also demand reforms of Serbia’s election legislation, which they claim is full of systematic errors.

Bosko Obradovic, the president of the far-right Dveri, told BIRN that the opposition will produce a final report on the parliamentary election which will sum up all the reports issued by the RIK.

It will also ask to see all the RIK’s election documents, voter lists and polling station records.

“In the end, we will suggest the reform of the entire electoral legislation so that these things do not happen again,” Obradovic said.

After the election on April 24, the four opposition groups accused the ruling Serbian Progressive Party of rigging the elections and demanded the resignations of RIK president Dejan Djurdjevic and the director of the Institute of Statistics, Miladin Kovacevic.

They also staged a protest on Saturday in Belgrade which attracted several thousand supporters.

They opposition alleged that there were numerous pieces of evidence suggesting that the elections were rigged, claiming that dead people and non-existent citizens had voted and ballot boxes had been tampered with.

Their suspicions of fraud were further raised by the fact that the president of the RIK, Dejan Djurdjevic, is a member of the Serbian Progressive Party, which won the elections.

The day after the polls, Djurdjevic attended a Progressive Party presidency meeting.

Tamara Spaic, a spokesperson for the Enough is Enough movement, told BIRN that the “professionalisation of the RIK” was essential for holding free elections.

“You cannot have the Republic Electoral Commission being a party body,” Spaic said.

Although the four opposition coalitions have different ideologies, they said they united temporarily to defend democracy.

However, both Obradovic and Spaic said that although they would continue to cooperate on similar issues, they will not forge any political alliance because their differences are too great.

“We need to be realistic. We can cooperate on numerous things, but we need to be aware of our strong political disagreements,” Obradovic said.

According to the RIK’s preliminary results from April 24, with 99.82 per cent of the ballots counted, the Serbian Progressive Party won 48.24 per cent of the votes.

Five other coalitions made it past the five per cent threshold necessary to get into parliament – the Socialist Party (10.96 per cent), the Serbian Radical Party (8.11 per cent), the Democratic Party (6.03 per cent), the Enough is Enough movement (6.03 per cent) and the Social Democratic Party (5.02 per cent).

Voting was conducted again on Wednesday at 15 polling stations due to complaints of irregularities.

The results ensured that the Democratic Party of Serbia-Dveri coalition also got into parliament.

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