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Serbia: Right-Wing Coalition Threatens Protests Over Election Results

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By Sasa Dragojlo

The right-wing coalition uniting Dveri and the Democratic Party of Serbia has warned of street protests if the Election Commission declares they did not meet the 5-per-cent threshold needed to enter parliament.

The right-wing Dveri-DSS coalition has accused Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and his ruling Serbian Progressive Party, SNS, of pressuring the Election Commission, RIK, to declare that the coalition did not meet the threshold needed to enter parliament – and has warned of street protests.

Bosko Obradovic, the president of Dveri, told BIRN that Vucic will try to use RIK’s decision to hold repeat votes in 164 polling stations to manipulate votes and leave DSS-Dveri out of parliament.

“If that happens, we will definitely organize street protests,” Obradovic told BIRN.

According to the RIK, seven lists crossed the threshold needed to enter the parliament after Sunday’s elections.

Based on 97.46 per cent of the votes counted, the “Aleksandar Vucic – Serbia wins” coalition won 48 per cent of the votes.

The Serbian Socialist Party, SPS, came second with 11 per cent of the votes, the Serbian Radical Party, SRS, came third with 8 per cent, the Democratic Party, DS, came fourth with 6 per cent, and the centrist movement “Enough is enough” came fifth with 5.9 per cent.

A centrist coalition grouped around former Serbian president Boris Tadic also won 5 per cent of the votes, as did the right-wing coalition Dveri-DSS.

However, the RIK’s contradictory results on election night and reports of numerous irregularities at polling stations caused consternation among several opposition parties.

Some supporters came to the RIK building on the night between Sunday and Monday to make sure there was no manipulation with the votes and a day later they formed a joint legal team to scrutinize all the election material, claiming that the elections had been marred by numerous irregularities.

Prime Minister Vucic said on Tuesday that his ruling Progressive Party will also want insight into all the election materials from the RIK.

Vucic said that it was the opposition that was putting pressure on the RIK because they wanted to hide their poor results in elections in Vojvodina, Serbia’s northern province.

Things became more heated when the right-wing Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj, formerly Vucic’s ally, claimed that “the Americans are helping DSS-Dveri” to enter the parliament.

The fact that the president of the RIK, Dejan Djurdjevic, is a member of the Progressives has also provoked doubts.

Vladimir Milutinovic, a Belgrade-based political analyst, told BIRN that Vucic fears having so many opposition parties in parliament.

“In a way, Vucic lost these elections since he won 37 fewer seats than in 2012,” Milutinovic observed.

“He is aware that the opposition and his critics in the parliament will be much stronger now,” Milutinovic added.

The RIK annulled elections at seven polling stations on Wednesday and estimates and complaints of irregularities are still ongoing. The RIK is supposed to announce the final results on Thursday.

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Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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