Local elections in Serbia: Car explosion, party activists attacked, journalists expelled, photographs deleted…
The partial local elections, held in some of the Serbian municipalities on Sunday, were not conducted in fair and democratic atmosphere, stated the observer mission “Citizens on the Watch” (CRTA).
The observer mission CRTA stated that they noted heavy irregularities at eight polling stations in Zajecar, while in Vrbas there were reports that citizens were pressured to vote.
In Vrbas, the election headquarters of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) reported that their activists were physically attacked and beaten.
The representative of SPS Marijana Maras told Insajder that the attackers were not from the city of Vrbas. According to unofficial records, the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) won over 50 percent of votes in Vrbas. In the national Assembly, SNS and SPS are coalition partners.
Attacks on the party activists
Parties participating in the elections reported violence during the polling process in Vrbas. In Zajecar, the press and the observers were forbidden to enter the premises of the Progressive Party.
In Vrbas, the Democratic Party (DS) accused the Progressive Party on Sunday for “bringing thugs to the city” to beat and harass citizens.
“As it is an already know practice, thugs come from different cities to the place where election is held, take off the plates from their cars, and then attack and blackmail citizens,” stated the Democratic Party.
Only three weeks after the presidential election, citizens of Zajecar, Odzaci, Vrbas, Kovin, and Kosjeric had the local elections. The ruling Progressive Party will be able to form the local government in all the municipalities except in Zajecar, where “The Movement for Krajina” lead by Bosko Nicic won the elections but not the simple majority.
The Progressive Party also reported that their candidates for municipal assembly were attacked in Vrbas: “DS should start having a fair campaign and reconcile with the fact that we have the absolute trust of the people.”
A day before the election in Odzaci, the car belonging to one of the candidates of DS for the municipal council exploded. Police claim that the car caught fire “by itself” while the Democrats accuse the police for covering up the incident.
Journalist expelled from the Progressive Party’s headquarters
On Sunday evening, at the end of the election process, a journalist of the regional network TV N1 was expelled from the Progressive Party’s headquarters in Zajecar.
An unknown person expelled the journalist Gordana Bjeletic who wanted to follow the development in SNS headquarters on the election night. Journalists were not allowed to enter or even to take photos of the headquarters from the opposite side of the street.
The observers from CRTA were also not allowed to photograph the events in front of the SNS headquarters in Zajecar.
According to representatives of CRTA, their observer wanted to photograph a gathering in front of the headquarters.
They claim that most of the cars in front of the building were from outside of Zajecar with license plates from all over Serbia.
“They grabbed his phone, erased photographs, and yelled at him not to take photos or there will be problems,” CRTA stated.
Senka Vlatkovic Odalovic
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