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Serbian Republic Election Committee finished the ballot counting, Jankovic's team files lawsuits

The Serbian Republic Election Committee (REC) could not reach consensus after a five-hour discussion about two disputed polling stations in Novi Pazar, which the opposition considers the example of rewriting the will of the people in the presidential election held on 2nd April.

Srđan Ilić: Prebrojavanje glasackih listica u RIK-u.
Foto: Srđan Ilić / Prebrojavanje glasackih listica u RIK-u.

The President of REC, Vladimir Dimitrijevic, said after the discussion held on Sunday, that this monitoring body has concluded that there were no rewritings of results in the election.

Dimitrijevic said that the claim of the opposition representatives in REC was false. He said that it was not 800 but 4 votes written in the records for but not won by current PM and President-elect Aleksandar Vucic.

Members of the opposition in REC, who were in minority during votings of this body, claim that by random sample inspection in 25 polling stations, the REC "gave" 964 more votes to the President-elect and current Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.

"We have concluded that those claims were not grounded and, therefore, the smirch has been taken off from the election process," said Dimitrijevic.

Jankovic's election team on the election theft

The headquarters of the presidential candidate Sasa Jankovic stated on Saturday evening that they discovered many irregularities in 25 polling stations in Novi Pazar. They also claimed that, if this is modus operandi, PM Vucic has stolen 319,000 votes in total in the presidential election.

 Jankovic's election team has stated that, according to the records from two polling stations, 27 and 85, PM Vucic "got" 793 more votes than there were ballots with his name.

Dimitrijevic added that a decision  was made to conduct recounting of ballots in polling stations 27 and 85 in Novi Pazar, since they represent "the exact example," and because the election headquarters of presidential candidate Sasa Jankovic wrongly presumed that 793 votes from these polling stations were given to President-elect Vucic.

Current PM and President-elect Aleksandar Vucic has won around 55 percent of the popular vote in presidential election held on 2nd April. Only a day after the election, protests have started in most major Serbian cities.

Citizens are protesting against an unfair pre-election campaign, in which PM Vucic had 92 percent of time on national broadcasters while 10 other candidates shared the remaining 8 percent. During the campaign, the Parliament was closed, and the Chairwoman Maja Gojkovic still declines to resume the session, justifying her decision with the fear from the protesters who could, according to her words, storm the building.

Opposition: Accidental mistakes are always in favour of PM Vucic

After recounting was conducted in front of the camera, Vesna Rakic Vodelinic, the representative of the Sasa Jankovic in the REC, expressed doubts that someone was tampering with the bags in which the material from voting polls in Novi Pazar was held.

"Despite the recount, I express a serious doubt that something happened with the votes from these bags in the past two days," said Vodelinic.


Who watches the ballots and what the locks on the bags are for

The REC ordered the use of special, coded, plastic locks for preserving the ballot bags intact. .

Those kind of locks guarantee the integrity of the bag and, if broken, they cannot be put back into the previous state.

Prebrojavanje glasačkih listića u RIK-u, 9. april 2017.
Foto: Srđan Ilić / Prebrojavanje glasačkih listića u RIK-u, 9. april 2017.

The voting ballots bags are secured by bodyguards in the building of REC, and opening of the bags is possible only with the approval of REC and the professional service. If the lock on the bag is changed or damaged, a record on it should be made.

However, representatives of the opposition in REC stated that the results from polling stations 27 and 85 should be annulled, since even those four votes are four votes unjustly taken from citizens.

Opposition member of REC, Vladimir Gajic, said it is rather odd that mistakes in the records are always in favour of the PM Vucic.

"If there was a ballot recount of two polling stations in Novi Pazar, we should recount all 25. We want to see whether there is some modus operandi because in all polling stations where we have seen mistakes, the mistakes were all in favour of PM Vucic," said Gajic.

Ivan Ninic, a member of the REC in front of "Enough is Enough" movement, expressed a doubt that the record from polling station 27 was falsified, since all ten signatures on the record from this station are written in the same handwriting.

Representatives of the opposition in the REC also protested because the recount is conducted only in two places instead of 25 stations in which the election team of Sasa Jankovic reported irregularities.

Member of the REC Ljiljana Benac Santic requested recount in all polling stations in Novi Pazar, but that request was not even considered for voting. Opposition members of the REC also criticized the recount process because it was conducted only after PM Vucic had called for it at a press conference. Members of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party in the REC have criticized the opposition for not being able to take the defeat with dignity.

Rakic Vodelinic: The number of ballots in the bags is not the same as it was on Friday

Member of the REC Vesna Rakic Vodelinic said at the press conference held on Sunday that the material in the bags is not the one their controllers saw on Friday.

Prebrojavanje glasačkih lističa u RIK-u, 9. april 2017.
Foto: Srđan Ilić / Prebrojavanje glasačkih lističa u RIK-u, 9. april 2017.

Rakic Vodelinic stated that she will file criminal charges to Public Prosecution against unknown persons, members of the local election monitoring in Novi Pazar and several other places.

Isidora Martinenko, who was among those who checked the material on Friday, stated that in the polling station 27 in Novi Pazar, PM Vucic had 543 votes, but the record shows he had 1,185.

According to her statement, controllers have counted 749 votes in the polling station 85, but in the official record shows he won 999 votes.

She also said that when the controllers opened the bags with unused voting material on Friday they were full, and on Sunday they were empty.

"On Friday, bags with unused ballots were sealed. We did not open them because we believed that those were the unused ballots," she said.

Natasa Bogovic, Sasa Dragojlo

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