Bloomberg News

Serbian Opposition Vows to Protest Alleged Election Fraud

May 12, 2012

The Serbian Progressive Party, the country’s biggest opposition group, said it will organize protests against alleged vote-rigging in the May 6 parliamentary and presidential elections.

The Progressives, whose leader Tomislav Nikolic faces incumbent Boris Tadic in a presidential runoff election on May 20, don’t recognize the official results that gave the party 73 of parliament’s 250 seats, spokesman Vuk Fatic said by phone today in Belgrade. Tadic’s ruling Democrats and their Socialist allies won a combined 111 seats and have started talks on forming a coalition.

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 protests will start tomorrow and will be held daily, across the country,” against the alleged tampering with ballots and voting lists that hurt the Progressives, Fatic said. Tadic has rejected the claims.

Prosecutor Investigating

The Prosecutor’s Office has asked the police to investigate the alleged irregularities claimed by four parties, including the Democratic Party of Serbia, led by former Prime MinisterVojislav Kostunica.

“At some polling stations there weren’t enough ballots, while at others there were too many,” said Jene Maglai of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, which represents Serbia’s ethnic Hungarian minority.

Serbia’s Election Commission rejected Nikolic’s request for annulment of the election results as “unfounded” and reiterated that the printing and counting of the ballots was monitored by all parties involved, the Tanjug news service reported. It said it would proceed with the printing of ballots for the runoff.

Nikolic, who favors economic and political support from Russia, won 25.1 percent in the first round of the presidential vote. Tadic, who oversaw Serbia’s successful candidacy for EU entry, won 25.3 percent.

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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