Bloomberg News

Serb Prosecutor Orders Investigation of Election Fraud Claim

May 11, 2012

Serbia’s Prosecutor’s Office has asked the police to investigate claims by the opposition Progressive Party of ballot tampering in May 6 parliamentary and presidential elections.

“We will examine the regularity of the election process,” Tomo Zoric, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Belgrade, said by phone today. Progressive Party leader Tomislav Nikolic, has alleged that the ruling Democratic Party of Boris Tadic rigged voting lists and stuffed ballot boxes.

Tadic and Nikolic will face off in a second round of voting in the presidential election on May 20 after neither candidate got a majority in the first round. Tadic denied the allegations, the Tanjug news service reported today.

The outcome of the vote may determine whether Serbia keeps striving for European Union membership or turns east for political and economic ties under Nikolic’s leadership.

The Progressive Party won 73 seats in the 250-member parliament compared with 67 seats for Tadic’s Democrats, who may remain in power after renewing their alliance with the Socialist Party, which won 44 mandates.

The two parties are looking to create a coalition government that would keep the Progressives in opposition.

Bigger Margin

Nikolic said his party won the parliamentary vote by a bigger margin. He first made the claim yesterday, appearing in front of the parliament with hundreds of ballots that he said were illegally stuffed at a polling station, whose location he wouldn’t specify.

The Election Commission said it received no official complaint from Nikolic or his party and warned in an e-mailed statement that making “such statements mean serious undermining of the entire election process.” All parties participating had their activists monitoring the vote at 8,391 polling stations across the country, it said.

“I will not rest until this is sorted out,” Nikolic said while campaigning in southern Serbia, and announced plans to hold street protests against the alleged fraud, Beta news agency reported.

In the presidental vote, Tadic finished first with 25.32 percent of votes and Nikolic won 25.05 precent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Misha Savic in Belgrade at msavic2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net


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