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Serbia - December 2023

Country holds early elections
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Early parliamentary, local and Vojvodina provincial elections were held on 17 December. Aleksandar Vučić – Serbia Must Not Stop electoral list led by the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) won nearly 47 per cent of the vote, while opposition parties under the Serbia Against Violence (SPN) won nearly 24 per cent. Although President Vučić did not participate as a candidate, he campaigned alongside Serbia Must Not Stop, pledging new roads, hospitals, one-time cash bonuses, and that Kosovo will be part of Serbia. SPN claims it won the elections, especially in Belgrade, and called for annulment. The electoral process was marred by reports of irregularities and led to weeks of protests and international condemnation. The electoral commission decided to have a rerun in 30 polling stations (0.38 percent of the polling stations). International observers said that voters had political alternatives but that elections were undermined by the involvement of the President, the overwhelming ruling party advantage, vote buying and ballot box stuffing. Women will hold 38 per cent of parliament seats, up from the previous 35 per cent. Voter turnout stood at 58 per cent.

Sources: The Government of the Republic of Serbia, The Republic Electoral Commission (RIK), B92, Deutsche Welle, Euractiv, Euronews, OSCE ODHIR, Inter-Parliamentary Union, International IDEA (1), International IDEA (2)

Electoral fraud reports trigger protests and international condemnation

Following reports of electoral fraud in the 17 December elections, tens of thousands protested, opposition figures went on hunger strike, and student organizations staged blockades. Police violence and arrests ensued when supporters of the opposition, Serbia Against Violence, tried to break into Belgrade’s city hall by smashing windows. The opposition suspects the involvement of agents provocateurs in the incident. President Vučić and Russian authorities attributed the turmoil to foreign interference, while Prime Minister Ana Brnabić thanked the Russian secret service for information on the opposition. EU election observers reported organized voters from Republika Srpska (RS) and cases of intimidation. Authorities claim only citizens voted. Of the alleged 40,000 voters from RS, Brnabić says 20,360 crossed the border on voting day, with only about 15,000 voting. Germany deemed accusations of electoral misconduct for an EU candidate country unacceptable. MEPs along with 24 senior European foreign affairs politicians, called for an independent investigation. During a European Parliament plenary session, most speakers criticized the elections.

Sources: N1, Euractiv (1), Euractiv (2), Euractiv (3), European Western Balkans, British Broadcasting Corporation, Politico (1), Politico (2), The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, OSCE ODHIR, International IDEA

Primary categories and factors
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Representation -1 Representation  (-1)
Credible Elections
Rule of Law -1 Rule of Law  (-1)
Predictable Enforcement
Participation +1 Participation  (+1)
Civic Engagement
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