Presidential election: Vucic has won, there won’t be second round, CeSID says

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, has claimed victory in the presidential election. Speaking to supporters at his party’s headquarters on Sunday night, Vucic said, “This is a very important day for us, showing which way Serbia should be heading.”

Addressing the press conference at the headquarters of the ruling Progressive Party, Aleksandar Vucic said he was proud of the support he received and that election results showed which direction Serbia wanted to go.

“It’s important that the win was as clear as a whistle. I got 12% per cent more votes than all the other candidates together. When you have results like this, there is no instability – Serbia is strong and it will be even stronger,” Vucic said. He added that that the new government would be formed in about two months.

According to Djordje Vukovic from CeSID, one of the official observers of the presidential election, Aleksandar Vucic has won the presidential election and there won’t be second round. “The percentages can change but by very little, maybe 1.5% to 2% of votes”, Vukovic said.

Vukovic does underline that Vucic’s victory is based on CeSID’s preliminary projections, and adds that it is practically impossible for the results to change so that Vucic’s victory would be compromised.

The latest projected results from CeSID show that Vucic has won 55.8% of votes, Sasa Jankovic came in as second with 15.5% followed by Ljubisa Preletacevic Beli with 9.6% of the vote, beating the candidate for President of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic who garnered 5.7%. The leader of the right-wing Serbian Radical Party Vojislav Seselj came in fourth with 4.4% of the vote.

The candidates that got the least number of votes are Sasa Radulovic with 1.4%, Aleksandar Popovic with 1.2%, Nenad Canak 1.2%, Milan Stamatovic 1.2%, and Miroslav Parovic 0.3%.

Sasa Jankovic, an independent candidate with no party affiliation, said he was happy with his campaign, which has galvanised the pro-democratic movement in Serbia that has been upset with the country’s persistent corruption and growing autocracy. “In Serbia, a new, honest political movement has been created, and it’s the reason why we should be optimistic,” Jankovic said after he voted.

“The first-round round victory gives Vucic a huge impetus for a shift towards a more authoritarian style,” said Bosko Jaksic, an independent foreign policy analyst at the New Policy Center in Belgrade. “Vucic can perceive this triumph as a referendum on his rule, that he can have a free hand to pursue his policies in foreign and domestic affairs.”

Suspected irregularities

According to the Centre for Transparency, Research and Accountability (CRTA), no major irregularities have been reported.

CRTA noted irregularities in 3 per cent of polling stations, including that electoral commissions sometimes did not check the personal documents of voters, failed to check whether a voter had already cast their ballot, and failed to mark voters’ fingers with special ink to ensure they did not vote again.
In Leskovac, police intervened when an activist physically attacked the head of the electoral board, as well as in Pancevo where members of extremist groups gathered in front one of the polling stations.
CRTA also noted that in Zajecar, Knjazevac and Ali Bunar, police stations were open to urgently issue voters with certificates to show that they had filed requests for new ID cards, which would enable those without valid IDs to vote. 
In Ali Bunar, a group of 50 people went to police stations to get certificates. In three incidents, two in Leskovac and one in Novi Sad, observers found that voters were not able to cast ballot because someone had already voted instead of them. In five municipalities and towns, observers found people collecting information on who had turned out to vote and who had not.

CRTA filed three charges linked to suspected vote-buying in Vojvodina’s small towns Temerin, Beocin and Slana Bara.
“[All these incidents are] isolated cases that do not represent a trend that could endanger the regularity of the election process,” CRTA said.

The number of people eligible to vote was 6,724,949. Voters could cast ballots at 8,523 polling stations.

Voting also took place at 90 polling stations in Kosovo and at 53 polling stations in 23 other foreign countries. The OSCE reports that the preliminary turnout in Kosovo was 38.68%, and that preparations are underway to transport the ballots to Raska and Vranje.

53 additional polling stations were located abroad for 11,590 registered citizens of Serbia. The voting took place on Saturday in Britain, Canada, and the US.

About 1,955 local and 126 foreign observers monitored the election.

(Blic, B92, Balkan Insight, Associated Press, Breaking News, Bloomberg, 02.04.2017)

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