Update: The Serbian Progressive Party wins Belgrade elections
Aleksandar Vučić announced that his list won in the Belgrade City Assembly elections.
In a press conference held at the headquarters of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) the president of the Republic of Serbia declared that the coalition around his party has won, stating that this is their the best result in Belgrade so far.
Update: Preliminary results
Based on the first results coming from CESID and Ipsos survey agency, by now four electoral lists are above electoral threshold.
N1 reports that Ipsos processed 51% of votes. Based on that the electoral list of the ruling party “Aleksandar Vučić – Zašto volimo Beograd” won 45,2% of votes. The list of Dragan Đilas (former mayor of Belgrade, from 2008. to 2013), who gathered a number of smaller coalition partners, came second with 18,6 percent of votes, while the list of Aleksandar Šapić, the current president of the New Belgrade municipality won 9,2 percent. The list led by the Socialist Party of Serbia took 6,1 percent.
CESID published somewhat different results according to a sample of 42% of votes, but with the same order of actors.
The Dosta je bilo and Dveri and Don’t let Belgrade d(r)own lists so far seem to be the first ones under the electoral threshold.
Stefan Aleksić: The president of Republika Srpska and his vote
Weird news falling into the register of the post-socialist gutter of all things bizarre seem to have no limit. A high ranking politician of a neighbouring state, Milorad Dodik, voted today at the local Belgrade elections at his polling station at an elite settlement, Dedinje. With this act he offered a brand new definition to the concept of capillary votes: as it turns out, the birthplace of capillary votes seems to be a capillary union of the toy states forged on the ruins of Yugoslavia.
This upgraded manipulation with citizenship destabilises once again an already vague and contestable line of separation between legality and legitimacy. As far as it might not be disputable – though strange it is – for Dodik to have double citizenship in the first place, and – as we can see – immoveable property, residency and a right to vote in Dedinje, what is undoubtedly disputable is the constant support he has shown to all local oligarchies starting from the early two thousands onwards, together with his capacity to offer the oligarchies in question his services of installing on them patriotic patina. Oppositional leaders should, therefore, be somewhat cautious before they rush into accusing the current establishment for scheming behind the public’s back with an obscure demagogue over the river Drina – given the fact that they involved in much sweet-talking with the same person when he was conveniently used to make a patriotic disguise for the used-to-be authorities. Dodik was a regular companion of Boris Tadić, during his 2012 presidential election campaign, but he got his dual citizenship while he was in a loving relationship with Vuk Jeremić. In short: Dodik is a perfect example that the famous “flyover” is not some sort of a local phenomenon; that the political corruption contamination is becoming international, global, so to speak; that the free market of political servility goes well beyond the border, while a union of transitional oligarchies is living its celestial moment. In other words, Yugoslavia still exists – for political elites.
Of course, we should find none of this shocking, given the origins of the slip in question: Dodik is a paradigm (or is it maybe someone else?) of a scoundrel hiding behind the patriotism. Parallel and intense work that Dodik invested into resolutions dedicated to the survival of Serbs and the survival of each and every oligarchy in Serbia, should therefore cast a light on the true nature of close cross-border relations harbored by all political elites from Milošević to Vučić and expose it for what it is: a defence strategy of political manipulation and a patriotic firewall engaged in the protection of transitional oligarchies, defending this time, and by pure chance, Alexander Vučić.
Irena Pejić: A possibility of a step forward in the realm of the population’s political participation
The election turnout during the afternoon was in line with the general trends observed during some of the previous election turns. According to data supplied by CESID (Center for Free Elections and Democracy), at five p.m. the turnout was about 42%, overreaching last year‘s turnout by slightly more than 1%.
Contradicting the unusual optimism shown in the prognoses, it seems that a large number of citizens refrained from giving legitimacy to any of the offered options. A larger turnout might have been expected due to the fact that a duckling joined the fish in this year’s election race for a place in the city aquarium.
The other possible reasons for positive prognoses when it comes to voter turnout could be the alleged ruling party pressures on voters and the wide party member mobilization. Nevertheless, a huge percentage of those who abstain from voting signifies a lack of political motivation, which can be read as a declaration of certain political standpoint: namely, that the existing electoral options do not represent a satisfying alternative. Yet, positive estimations and expectations of higher voter turnout in comparison to previous elections could also represent a shift in political participation of the wider population.
Update: More irregularities spotted
According to Mašina’s sources, a member of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (Srpska napredna stranka – SNS) election headquarters wrote down personal identity numbers of citizens who turned up for voting at a polling station in the municipality of Zvezdara.
This was observed by members of Don’t let Belgrade d(r)own election headquarters. They wrote an appeal to the president of the election board, demanding that the person be removed from the polling station, which he refused. Observers close to the Don’t let Belgrade d(r)own initiative will file an official complaint following the end of voting.
Update: Voter turnout by 5 p.m. slightly lower than on presidential elections
Total eligible electorate for the Belgrade city assembly counts 1.606.931 voters. According to the Center for Free Elections and Democracy – CESID report, by 5 p.m. 41,2% of eligible electorate used their voting right. In comparison to last year’s April presidential elections, the voter turnout is lower by circa 1%.
Update: Alleged appearance of phantom voters makes different actors question the regularity of Belgrade city assembly elections in advance
Different NGOs, initiatives and political actors have raised an issue of a surprisingly huge eligible electorate in the Belgrade city assembly elections taking place today. According to their statements, the number of eligible voters is close to 1.6 million, almost reaching the total population of the municipal area of Belgrade as established in the latest census (2011).
Serbia is undoubtedly centralised, with Belgrade answering for around 40% of its overall GDP, which makes it an attractive location to move to. However, the population influx has been unable to cover for the losses of population to low birth rates and emigration, leaving the capital with a stagnant population for decades. This makes a sudden rise in electorate numbers highly suspicious.
Also, numerous citizens have claimed to have found dozens of voters’ ballots in their post-boxes and building foyers, belonging to people who apparently recently moved to their buildings. No-one met these phantom “neighbours” before. These claims appeared both on social networks, and were stated in press releases by several opposition leaders.
Update: City Election Commission silent about irregularities
“Present members of the City election commission failed to react, instead they just tried to cover the whole thing up”, claims Miloš Starčević, a Don’t let Belgrade d(r)own (Ne Da(vi)mo Beograd) electoral candidate, in a statement for Mašina.
Earlier today Starčević caught on camera what he claims to be irregularities in the polling station No. 66 at the municipality of Zvezdara, Novo Mirijevo 2. While voting himself, Starčević noticed that a member of the electoral board keeps a parallel list of voters, an act forbidden by law.
Starčević was attacked while requesting that the voting be interrupted and police called to the voting station. The police was called, but failed to make presence at the scene.
Update: Urgent press conference in response to the attacks on election monitors.
Two election monitors engaged by the Center for Research, Transparency and Responsibility (Centar za istraživanje, transparentnost i odgovornost) – CRTA monitoring the Belgrade city assembly elections were attacked at two different polling stations. Both attacks happened while election monitors tried to intervene and prevent possible irregularities.
In an urgent press conference CRTA appealed for all election related procedures to be respected and urged the public to remain calm. They expressed grave concern that the democratic election process has been threatened. For more information visit CRTA’s web site.
Mašina is covering the on-going Belgrade City Assembly elections. Comments written by our editorial board, reports from the election headquarters, commissions and organisations overseeing the elections coming soon! We’re on it!