The low turnout in Sunday’s referendum has raised the question of the legitimacy of the constitutional amendments. While the government says it is pleased with the number of citizens who voted in the referendum, experts say the low turnout only completed the circle of illegitimacy that has followed the entire process from the beginning
And the process, analysts said, was illegitimate, conducted hastily and clumsily from the very beginning without the public debate.
Twitter community exploded with comments, jokes and irony by legal experts and ordinary people about how the referendum was held. Some opposition politicians called it a fraud and theft and even demanded it be annulled.
On the contrary, top EU officials, including the head of the bloc’s office in Serbia, were happy with the vote and the result. Emanuele Giaufret noticed the EU would have been more pleased with a higher turnout, but he was satisfied with its outcome.
Sofija Mandic, a lawyer with the Center for Judicial Research, said that “citizens, as well as children, are never to blame for how they behave. Those who lead these processes are responsible for the citizens being not sufficiently informed and for not being motivated to vote.”
President Aleksandar Vucic, who, in the capacity of his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) leader, publicly released the referendum results even before the State Election Commission did it, was satisfied with the turnout.
“As far as the turnout is concerned, it is big for a referendum. We forecast 25 percent; I said I expected between 25 and 30 percent, and the turnout is just about 30 percent,” Vucic said.
Only four years ago, commenting on the turnout on a referendum in North Macedonia, Vucic said: “Imagine me inviting people to a referendum and 25, 35 percent come out, and I say ‘we won ‘… That is an impossible situation for me … I’m not satisfied when we get 50 percent of the vote, so you asked the wrong person what he would do to get 15, 20 or 30 percent of people to vote in an election or a referendum.”
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