Serbia maintains tense vote when populist government doesn’t sanction Russia
Opposition allegations of widespread misconduct have graced Serbia’s general election today. President Aleksandar Vucic and the populists in power hope to extend their tenure in the Balkans to another decade.
About 6.5 million voters were eligible to elect the country’s president and new parliament in the capital Belgrade and more than a dozen other cities and municipalities.
Turnout was reported to be around 55% an hour before the closing time of voting, which is higher than most Serbian elections.
Ahead of the vote, polls predicted Vucic would win another five-year term and his right-wing Serbian Progressive Party would regain control of the 250-member parliament.
But analysts say an opposition victory was likely in Belgrade, which would severely damage Vucic’s increasingly autocratic rule.
Opposition parties said several irregularities were discovered during Sunday’s voting process. The opposition elections commission reported widespread ghost voting in the name of dead or non-existent people and ruling party activists offering money in exchange for voting.
A former extremist nationalist who boasts close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Butic tried to portray himself as a surety in the chaos swept across Europe by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
After voting in Belgrade, Vucic said he expects Serbia to continue on a path of stability, serenity and peace.
“I believe in important and persuasive wins and I believe that everyone will get what they deserve.