Serbia Against Violence calls EU to reject election results

The Serbia Against Violence (SPN) coalition sent a letter to a number of European Union institutions, listing examples of fraud and vote manipulation it said had been committed by the authorities at the December 17 parliamentary, local and provincial assembly elections and calling them not to recognize the election results.

Belgrade, Serbia
21 December 2023

Dear President of the European Parliament, Dear President of the European Council, Dear President of the European Commission, Dear Members of European Parliament, Dear Chairs of Foreign Affairs Committees of the EU Member States parliaments, Dear High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Dear members of the College of the Commissioners, Dear representatives of the Member States,

Friends and colleagues,

As leaders of the Serbia Against Violence electoral list, we are writing to inform you on the unfolding events in Serbia in the wake of 17 December parliamentary, provincial, and local elections, including those for the Assembly of the City of Belgrade.

The key international and domestic observation missions – International Election Observation Mission (OSCE PA, CoE PA, EP and OSCE/ODIHR) and CRTA Observation Mission, have concluded in an unequivocal manner that the elections in Serbia were not free and fair. Furthermore, as CRTA Observation Mission stated, the results of the local elections in the city of Belgrade do not reflect the will of the citizens.

Violations before the elections, on the electoral day, and after the polling stations were closed, are of an unprecedented scale. Some examples include:

– Unambiguous evidence of vote buying, which includes audio recordings, released by the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS) on 29 November 2023;

– Findings of the representatives of the Serbia Against Violence in the Belgrade Electoral Commission (GIK) indicating that as many as half of the lists submitted for the Belgrade local election had falsified signatures of support, which points towards gross abuse of private information and compromises the legitimacy of the nomination process;

– Passive behavior and complete inactivity of the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media (REM) with huge disbalance in media coverage of government and opposition and constant smear campaigns against the opposition by pro-government tabloids;

– Overwhelming media presence of the President, who was not the candidate in the elections, and as OSCE/ODIHR mission noted, “strong influence of the government on most outlets”;

– Serious allegations of voter migration (registering voters in places where they otherwise do not live), including residents of neighbouring countries, for election for the Assembly of the City of Belgrade, which the responsible state institutions have refused to properly address and investigate.

– Pressuring voters such as state-owned corporation workers and social assistance recipients to either take pictures of their ballot and ID card (which is already illegal) or cast an already filled out ballot and bring out of the polling station an unspoiled one, so that their contracts are renewed/do not get demoted or their social assistance is continued.

The Serbia Against Violence electoral list does not and shall not accept the results of the elections held on 17 December 2023. We are asking from you, as representatives of European democracies, the following:

1) Do not recognise the results of the parliamentary, provincial, and especially local elections in Serbia, until a full international investigation into the electoral irregularities is completed.

2) Initiate a full international investigation under the auspices of the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the European Commission, on the electoral irregularities, with special emphasis on the election for the Assembly of the City of Belgrade. Deadline: 15 February for the submission of the Independent Report.

3) Establish an International verification committee under the auspices of the European Parliament, with the participation of all four main political groups (EPP, S&D, RE and Green/EFA) and four leading electoral lists in Serbia (SNS, SPN, SPS and NADA), on a parity basis, 4+4 members, with independent chairperson, which will monitor and verify the implementation of each and every recommendation of the international investigation, as well as the OSCE/ODIHR and domestic observation missions (i.e. CRTA), and determine that the conditions are met for new elections. Timeframe: The committee should verify the implementation of all recommendations three months prior to the date of the elections.

Fresh elections for the Belgrade City Assembly must coincide with the upcoming regular local elections.

We are greatly encouraged by the initial response of the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as by the statements from the European Commission, and the statements form other EU member states, the UK Europe Minister, and representatives of the US State Department. We also strongly appreciate the statement from most of the members of the European Parliament observation mission. In all but one, they point to a single conclusion – that elections were fraudulent in a large scale, and burdened with stark irregularities.

We would like to appeal to the wider European public, European democratic political institutions, and you as their representatives, that Serbian citizens deserve to live in a free and democratic society, and that they are ready to fight for it.

Our list was supported by more than 900.000 citizens, which is among the best results of an opposition list in the history of Serbian elections and the best result of a pro-EU opposition list since 2012. We have the duty to represent these citizens, who are not asking for anything less than what the citizens of Europe enjoy.

The European Union should urgently end the appeasement of the government in Serbia and start using available policy tools against the members of the ruling party involved in the electoral fraud, and thus assist the citizens of Serbia in restoring the rule of law and democracy.

If the European Union misses this opportunity to stand in support of the Serbian citizens demanding democracy and fundamental European values at this critical juncture, any prospects for a democratic and European Serbia as a future EU member state will be dealt a huge blow.

Sincerely yours,

Leaders of the Serbia Against Violence electoral list:

Democratic Party (DS) Zoran Lutovac

Ecological Uprising (EU) Aleksandar Jovanović

Freedom and Justice Party (SSP) Dragan Djilas

Green-Left Front (ZLF) Biljana Đorđević, Radomir Lazović

Movement of Free Citizens (PSG) Pavle Grbovic

People’s Movement of Serbia (NPS) Miroslav Aleksić

Serbia Center (SRCE) Zdravko Ponos

Together (Zajedno) Nebojša Zelenović, Biljana Stojković

Objavljeno: 25.12.23.

Podeli vest!

Pročitaj i ovo: