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News 06 Oct 17

Opposition Demands 'Fair' Local Election in Serbian Capital

The 'Free Citizens' movement led by Sasa Jankovic announced a protest in Belgrade on Friday, demanding 'free and fair' elections ahead of local polls in Belgrade due next year.

Maja Zivanovic
BIRN
Belgrade

Sasa Jankovic. Photo: Beta/Milos Obradovic

Sasa Jankovic, head of the opposition Free Citizens movement and a runner in the April 2 presidential elections, called on citizens, NGOs, political parties and unions to join a protest in Belgrade on Friday on “the right of citizens to fair and free elections”.

Jankovic accused the ruling Serbian Progressive Party of planning “election fraud” in the elections in Belgrade due next year.

In support of this claim, he said the number of registered voters in the Belgrade municipalities of Vracar and Zvezdara had risen suspiciously lately, claiming that supporters of the Progressive Party from other cities were being registered to vote in Belgrade.

Interior Minister and senior Progressive Party official Nebojsa Stefanovic has denied the claim as “malicious”, adding that that the number of people in the capital was “statistically increasing in an even manner”.

Jankovic’s announced protest on Friday was named “For elections without phantom masks” – alluding to a controversial incident in the city's Savamala district in April 2016, when masked men demolished buildings to make way for a hotly disputed property development.

Former Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said on Thursday that he agreed with Jankovic on the joint list of “election demands” which will be read out during the protest and would be there in person. “We are fighting for fair and civilized electoral conditions,” he said.

The head of the opposition Democratic Party, Dragan Sutanovac, said his party would also support the protest.

So did the “Against Dictatorship” movement, best known for having organized of mass rallies in April against President Aleksandar Vucic.

Elections in Belgrade are due in spring next year. The current ruling coalition in the capital is led by the Progressive Party, together with the Socialist Party of Serbia and other smaller parties.

The chances of the opposition parties uniting into one bloc have meanwhile receded since the Free Citizens movement and the Democratic Party ended their formal alliance.

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