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Serbian elections fall short of necessary standards

Serbian elections - ballot box

The PES has noted the outcomes of the Serbian elections on Sunday 24 April 2016 and has concerns about the democratic standards of the election process.

Independent election observers including the OSCE/ODIHR and civil society organisations are in consensus that the election process has become less fair and free compared to previous elections. While citizens were able to choose freely between a number of candidates, the bias in the media coverage towards the incumbents and the widespread reports of the ruling parties exerting pressure on voters, in particular public employees, meant that this election was not an equal contest.

It was clear beforehand that the conditions were not in place for free and fair elections. During the campaigning period the OSCE reported that contestants campaigned openly, but the incumbents abused the administrative advantages of office; media coverage was favourable to the ruling parties, despite an open media environment; and there was lack of full transparency in party and campaign funding.

Sergei Stanishev, PES President reacted to the election results:

“We have significant concerns about the Serbian election campaign and polling, which by all accounts were not free nor fair. I call on the SNS party will use the forthcoming period to undertake democratic reforms in Serbia and thus put the country on the path towards EU accession."

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