State Department calls for investigation into alleged election fraud

The United States urges Serbian authorities to address election concerns in the country after the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) reported irregularities in the weekend vote that saw a victory by the ruling party (SNS).

“Claims of irregularities reported both by OSCE and other election observation teams should be investigated, and violence directed at election authorities, journalists, accredited observers, of which we have seen reports, is unacceptable,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

“We will urge Serbia to work with the OSCE to address these concerns,” he said.

The United States a day earlier had been more cautious in commenting on the conduct of the election, noting that the OSCE findings were preliminary and that it was still reviewing them.

Miller stopped short of weighing in on how the parliamentary and local elections would affect relations with President Aleksandar Vucic, who was not on the ballot but whose right-wing party was shown with a commanding victory.

He also said that the United States would “continue to urge” Serbia “to de-escalate tensions” with Kosovo after a flare-up this year.

Germany has called the reported election irregularities “unacceptable” for a country hoping to join the European Union, while the bloc on Tuesday said Serbia’s “electoral process requires tangible improvement and further reform.”

Yesterday, international election observers said that the election campaign was marred by harsh rhetoric, media bias, pressure on public sector employees and misuse of public resources, said the ODIHR mission, adding that the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media (REM) maintained a notably “passive” approach to regulating media conduct during the campaign.

“Serbian voters have once again been called to the polls, regretfully reinforcing the ‘culture of early elections’, the unlevel playing field these create and the political instrumentalization of electoral cycles,” said Stefan Schennach, Head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Delegation, adding that this further undermines public trust in democratic institutions and electoral processes.

Asked if the recorded violations are reason enough for the election results to be annulled, ODIHR Head of Mission, Albert Jonsson, said the observers are not in a position to comment on the effects.

(Radio Free Europe, 19.12.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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