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Vucic party at the forefront – opposition speaks of fraud

President Vucic’s party is clearly ahead in the parliamentary elections in Serbia. Forecasts see the SNS with at least 46 percent of the vote. But the opposition speaks of “unprecedented electoral violence.”

According to election researchers, President Aleksandar Vucic’s party has won the early parliamentary elections in Serbia. After counting 90 percent of the votes cast, the Belgrade institutes Cesid and Ipsos saw the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) as the clear strongest force with 46 percent of the votes. This would have given her an absolute majority in the People’s Assembly (Skupstina) with 128 out of 250 seats.

According to election researchers, the liberal opposition, which ran together as the electoral alliance “Serbia Against Violence” (SPN), won 65 seats with 24 percent of the vote and became the second strongest force. Shortly after the polls closed, the SNS claimed victory. A little later, Vucic himself declared his election victory. The head of state said at a press conference in Belgrade on Sunday that his party had secured an absolute majority.

irregularities and Fraud allegations

The opposition had hoped to bring about a change of power in the local elections held at the same time in the capital Belgrade. A stalemate emerged there on election night. Neither SNS nor SPN should have a majority in the city assembly that elects the mayor. Tipping the scales is the new list of the doctor and right-wing populist Branimir Nestorovic, which surprisingly made it into the state parliament with five percent of the vote.

In Belgrade in particular, the election was overshadowed by allegations of fraud against the presidential party. “We witnessed unprecedented electoral violence today,” said opposition leader Miroslav Aleksic. “According to our estimates, 40,000 identity cards were issued in Belgrade to people who do not live here.” Media reported on buses that brought people from the Serbian part of Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Belgrade Arena, where they are said to have taken part in the election.

New elections after rampage and escalation in Kosovo

Vucic, whom critics accuse of an authoritarian style of government, dissolved parliament after less than two years. This was prompted by two shooting rampages in May that left 18 dead, as well as conflicts in Kosovo, which has been independent since 2008. Serbia continues to claim its former province, which is now almost exclusively inhabited by Albanians, as its own.

The May shootings sparked a massive protest movement against the Vucic government. This led to the liberal opposition banding together to form the “Serbia Against Violence” electoral alliance.

Silke Hahne, ARD Vienna, currently Belgrade, tagesschau, December 18, 2023 11:30 a.m

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