Serbia’s ruling party claims election victory in Belgrade – News

“We still had a majority in Belgrade after December 17,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic declared in a speech quoted by the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency.

“But we don’t think that’s fair enough, because others don’t want to form a coalition with us. Now we’ll get 62 or 63 seats,” President Vucic said, ending with fireworks in the sky over the capital.

In December, the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), conservative President Aleksandar Vucic and the Serbian opposition Alliance Against Violence (SPN) did not guarantee the necessary majority in Belgrade to govern the capital’s municipality.

According to the first results released by the Center for Electoral Freedom and Democracy (CeSID) and Ipsos, the SNS won in Belgrade with 53% of the vote. Opposition newcomer Kreni Promeni (“Force for Change”) came in second with 17% of the vote.

Turnout was lower than in December: Two hours before polls closed, 37% of voters in the capital had cast their ballots, up from 45% in December, according to official figures released to date.

The international observer mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) considered in its report that the December elections took place “under unequal conditions” due to Vucic’s presence in the media.

Failing to secure a majority, the SNS had to hold fresh elections.

However, “what happened in December happened in December,” said Lamberto Jannier, head of the OSCE monitoring mission called to observe the elections.

According to the official, “120 observers across the country are monitoring the elections throughout the day”, the results of which will be known on Monday morning.

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According to CeSID, several irregularities occurred during the day in Belgrade, as well as in other cities in the country where local elections were held.

In Novi Sad, Serbia’s second largest city, opposition activists accused the SNS of organizing an “election center”.

The SNS, which has been in power since 2012 and won an absolute majority in legislative elections on December 17, currently controls the country’s second and third cities, Novi Sad and Nis.

Most analysts agree that the opposition will win in these two cities with a unified list that would allow them to assume municipal power.

In Belgrade, however, the opposition was split between those who would stand again for today’s vote and a group of parties calling for a boycott.

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