Serbia’s ruling nationalist party claims victory in Belgrade elections

Serbia’s ruling nationalist party claimed victory in repeat local elections in the capital, Belgrade, on Sunday, nearly six months after charges of fraud in a previous poll caused weeks of protest.

Serbia’s president and SNS party leader, Aleksandar Vučić, has claimed a decisive victory in the capital and nearly all other municipalities where voting was held, while official results have yet to be published, France24 reported.

The SNS barely won the December election with 49 seats in the city council but was unable to establish a municipal government, necessitating a new election.

“Even after December 17 in Belgrade, we maintained a majority. However, we perceived this as insufficient legitimacy, as several other parties declined to form a partnership with us. Now, we will have 62 or 63 seats” out of 110 on the city council,” Vucic stated.

According to data based on exit surveys provided by the Center for Free Elections and Democracy (CeSID) and Ipsos, the SNS won 53% of the vote in Belgrade, followed by Kreni Promeni (“Go for Change”), a newcomer to the opposition, which received 17%.

Unlike last year’s elections, SNS faced a divided opposition, with some boycotting the vote and others attempting to attract new voters. Savo Manojlovic, Go For Change’s leader and mayor candidate in Serbia’s capital, expressed happiness with the results but stated, “We have nothing to celebrate in a country with such electoral conditions.”

During the December elections, international observers, including those from the OSCE’s ODIHR democratic institutions section and the European Union, reported violations such as vote-buying and ballot stuffing.

The claims sparked weeks of protests outside government offices. Serbia’s top court rejected the opposition’s request to have the vote overturned.

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