According to international observers, the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) gained an unfair advantage in the early parliamentary elections due to media bias, President Aleksandar Vucic’s influence, and voting violations such as vote-buying.
According to Reuters, Reinhold Lopatka, head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observer mission, stated this at a press conference.
“The parliamentary elections, although technically well organized and offering voters a choice of political alternatives, were characterized by the decisive involvement of the president, which, together with the systemic advantages of the ruling party, created unfair conditions,” Lopatka said.
Although he was not on the list of candidates named after him, Vucic was actively campaigning for his SNS party: “Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia must not stop.”
Observers additionally identified misuse of state resources, a lack of distinction between official and campaign functions, voting intimidation, and bribery.
The fifth parliamentary election in Serbia since 2012 took place with local elections in most municipalities, the capital Belgrade, and the northern province of Vojvodina.
The SPN opposition alliance accused the Belgrade City Council elections of severe violations of electoral law, including voter registration fraud, bribery, and result fabrication, and urged that the polls be rerun.
On Monday, hundreds of SPN supporters demonstrated outside the State Election Commission in Belgrade.
Following the opposition’s calls, a column of protesters gathered near the Belgrade City Council building and marched to the Republican Election Commission of Serbia to protest election fraud, as Serbian media reported.
The protesters chanted “Betrayal,” “We will not surrender the elections,” “We will not surrender victory,” and so on. At some point, protesters threw eggs, tomatoes, and toilet paper at the building of the election commission, but the organizers urged them not to do so.
Opposition leaders Miroslav Aleksic and Marinika Tepic announced a hunger strike until the commission meets the opposition’s requests.
According to early findings from the State Election Commission, which are based on the counting of votes from 96% of polling stations, the president’s populist SNS party gained first place with 46.72% of the vote in Sunday’s elections.
Serbia Against Violence, a center-left opposition alliance, came in second with 23.56% of the vote, and the Socialist Party of Serbia placed in third with 6.56%. The president’s party also achieved a narrow win in the Belgrade local election.