Belgrade again in elections

2024-03-03 15:11:52, Kosova & Bota CNA

Belgrade again in elections

Elections for power in Serbia's capital will be held later this year, Serbian authorities said Sunday. The announcement followed months of rising political tensions surrounding allegations that President Aleksandar Vu?i?'s ruling party cheated in the Belgrade city assembly elections.

The right-wing Serbian Progressive Party was declared the winner of the December 17 parliamentary and local elections. But the main opposition alliance, Serbia Against Violence, insisted it was robbed of victory in Belgrade and the country's parliamentary vote was also marred by widespread irregularities.

The disputes led to major street protests.

It was not immediately clear when the elections would be held in Belgrade, but Sunday marked the official deadline for the constitution of power.

"I find that there is currently no quorum for holding the session and I inform you that the conditions stipulated by the law on local self-government for the constitution of the Assembly of the City of Belgrade have not been met. This means elections", said Toma Fila, Speaker of the Belgrade Assembly.

President Vu?i? and his party have rejected the allegations of fraud, calling them fabrications with the aim of destabilizing Serbia.

International election observers said earlier this week that the December polls were held under "unfair conditions," in part because of the president's involvement and systemic advantages for the ruling party.

The report by an office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe also said the election was "damaged by harsh rhetoric, media hype, pressure on public sector workers and misuse of public resources".

He listed a number of recommendations that Serbia should fulfill before the next elections.

Opposition politicians said the developments in Belgrade proved that President Vu?i? had lost his decade-long hold on the Serbian capital.

"Today they admitted that they lost the elections despite the large-scale thefts. The citizens of Belgrade have shown that they do not want them," said Vladimir Obradovic, an opposition candidate for the post of mayor of Belgrade.

The opposition and some local election observers said voters from abroad were included in voter lists in Belgrade and bused in on election day to vote for the ruling party.

Serbia is a candidate country for membership in the European Union, but President Vu?i? has faced accusations of curbing democratic freedoms since he took control of power in the Balkan country more than a decade ago./ VOA

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