Serbia thousand protest over unfair elections : For the seventh consecutive night, thousands of protesters converged in central Belgrade, expressing vehement dissatisfaction with the results of the parliamentary and local elections held on December 17. The demonstration, organized by the Serbia Against Violence coalition, escalated tensions as some protesters attempted to breach the capital’s assembly building, leading to clashes with law enforcement on December 24.
Opposition Rejects Outcome: Allegations of Theft and Fraud
The Serbia Against Violence coalition, known for its pro-European stance, firmly rejected the election outcome following claims of victory by President Aleksandar Vucic’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS). Opposition politician Srdjan Milivojevic of the Democratic Party accused the ruling party of theft, declaring, “The whole world has seen the theft that has not been recorded. In Belgrade, we won. Belgrade is a free city.”
Rallying at RIK: Demands for Annulment Amidst Fraud Allegations
The protest commenced in front of the Republic Electoral Commission (RIK) headquarters, where the opposition called for the annulment of election results at all levels, citing widespread fraud orchestrated by Vucic’s SNS. As tensions rose, some protesters attempted to enter the assembly building, met with resistance from stationed police officers. Tear gas was deployed to disperse crowds, leading to further confrontations.
Voices from the Balcony: Opposition’s Call for Recognition
Opposition figures from the Serbia Against Violence list expressed their desire to address the public from the assembly building’s balcony, emphasizing the urgency of having their voices heard amidst claims of electoral improprieties.
Vucic Denies Wrongdoing: Allegations of External Influence
President Vucic vehemently refuted allegations of electoral irregularities, asserting that the elections were conducted in a democratic atmosphere, describing them as “the most peaceful ever in modern history.” He maintained that decisions regarding the legitimacy of the elections rested solely with the country’s institutions.
The Serbian Prosecutor’s Office responded to fraud allegations on December 23, initiating an investigation into possible irregularities, including vote buying and the falsification of ballots and signatures. International observers, including the OSCE, expressed concerns about voting irregularities, while domestic election-monitoring groups echoed claims of improprieties.
Debunking Claims: Electoral Officials Respond to Allegations
Among the opposition’s contentions were allegations that the ruling party transported ethnic Serbs from neighboring regions to vote in the capital. However, election officials at RIK declared on December 24 that claims of ineligible voters participating in the Belgrade elections were “not true” after checking voter lists.
Unrest in Belgrade: Protests Turn Confrontational
The protests on December 24 followed preliminary election results indicating the SNS’s victory with 46.72% of the votes in snap parliamentary elections. International monitors highlighted unfair advantages gained by the SNS, citing media bias, President Vucic’s influence, and voting irregularities. Demonstrations outside Belgrade’s town hall turned confrontational, with riot police firing tear gas as protesters clashed with authorities.
Uncertain Future: Vucic Outlines Plans Amidst Pending Results : Serbia thousand protest over unfair elections
President Vucic, addressing the nation during the protests, dismissed the claims as lies propagated by the political opposition and suggested external influence in the unrest. Despite the ongoing unrest, President Vucic outlined plans for the newly elected parliament’s installation in January 2024, with government formation expected at the end of February. However, uncertainties loom as final results for parliamentary and local elections in Belgrade remain pending, subject to potential objections and recounts that could extend the process for months.