Serbia: President Vucic claims victory for his party in the legislative elections, final results expected Monday evening

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic claimed, on Sunday evening, December 17, the victory of his party (SNS, nationalist right) in the legislative elections, from which he would even emerge strengthened

Serbia: President Vucic claims victory for his party in the legislative elections, final results expected Monday evening

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic claimed, on Sunday evening, December 17, the victory of his party (SNS, nationalist right) in the legislative elections, from which he would even emerge strengthened. “We will have an absolute majority in Parliament with 127 seats” out of 250, he declared confidently at a press conference, based on 76% of the ballots counted. During the previous legislature, the SNS had 120 seats.

Omnipresent in the media, the president was in all the spotlight, making these legislative and local elections a referendum on his person. “My job was to do everything in my power so that you obtain an absolute majority in parliament,” he declared on Sunday evening, “very proud” of the campaign carried out.

The official results are not expected before Monday evening, recalled the opposition united under the banner “Serbia against violence” (SPN), which would win 23.5% of the votes according to estimates. The coalition, born from the monster demonstrations which shook the country in May, after the death of nineteen people in two shootings - including one in a primary school - has never stopped denouncing a biased campaign, tainted according to it by frauds.

A team of observers attacked

Marinika Tepic, leader of the SPN list, castigated a “production of voters who live neither in Serbia nor in Belgrade, and which constitutes a flagrant violation of the law”. “We will use all legal and democratic means to defend the will of Belgraders and citizens throughout Serbia,” she added. His running mate, Radomir Lazovic, spoke of irregularities on Sunday morning, affirming that it was perhaps "the dirtiest electoral process", evoking "vote buying, false signatures..." The opposition also claimed that entire buses had arrived in Belgrade to let non-residents vote.

“The biggest concern is caused by the larger number of voters brought from other places to Belgrade,” said the Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA), whose team of observers claimed to have was attacked, in Odzaci (north-east), “after recording a case of electoral corruption, where dozens of ballots were taken to the offices of political parties”.

Accusations that Prime Minister Ana Brnabic brushed aside during a press conference in the evening. In an exercise which is also customary for the president, she listed headlines from the press not affiliated with the SNS, accusing them of seeking to sow chaos with lies.

During the last legislative elections, coupled with presidential and municipal elections in April 2022, the SNS and its allies won 120 of the 250 seats in parliament, and Aleksandar Vucic was re-elected for a second term. But after the May shootings, the opposition demanded new legislative elections, which Mr. Vucic called at the beginning of November, hoping to strengthen his control.

Ghost voters

In a very short campaign, the opposition advocated “a life without fear of the powerful”, a peaceful society and an improvement in the economic situation, in a country hard hit by inflation, particularly in food. The annual inflation rate topped 15% in the spring, before falling to 8% in November.

The president promised in the coming years an increase in the average salary to reach 1,400 euros, and an increase in retirement pensions to 650 euros. In September, the median salary in the country was 560 euros.

The campaign also finished consecrating the return to politics of ultranationalist figures of the past, including in particular Vojislav Seselj, former political mentor of Aleksandar Vucic when he was still a member of the Serbian Radical Party (far right), then convicted of crimes against 'Humanity through international justice. He is today an ally of the SNS for the local elections in Belgrade.

It is in the capital that the opposition still hopes to score points, highlighting irregularities there too. “It is estimated that up to 20,000 ghost voters were imported into Serbia to vote for the SNS in the local elections in Belgrade,” said Djordje Miketic, candidate under the banner of Serbia Against Violence, and whose intimate video was released. was broadcast a few days before the election on a channel close to power. “We call on all political actors in Serbia and the international community not to remain silent in the face of this brutal theft, and we tell citizens to be ready to defend their electoral will,” he added.

The elections on Sunday were followed by more than 5,500 observers - Serbian and foreign -, a number never seen in Serbia. A press conference of international observers is organized Monday afternoon.