Flash News


Vucic's party withdraws, Serbia goes to elections again

Vucic's party withdraws, Serbia goes to elections again

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 over allegations that President Aleksandar Vucic's ruling party rigged elections for the Belgrade city assembly.

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 is not clear when the new elections will be held in Belgrade, Sunday was the deadline for the municipal assembly to convene.

"I note 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 new elections", said Toma Fila, Speaker of the Belgrade Assembly.

President Vučić and his party have rejected the claims of manipulations, describing them as lies aimed at destabilizing Serbia.

International observers said earlier this week that the December vote was held under "unfair conditions", in part because of the president's involvement and the advantages the system gives the ruling party.

The OSCE/ODIHR Europe report also said the elections were "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 Vučić 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 don't want them," said Vladimir Obradovic, 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 bussed in on election day to vote for the ruling party.

Serbia is a candidate country for membership in the European Union, but President Vuči has faced accusations of restricting democratic freedoms since he took control of power more than a decade ago. VOA


Latest news