Skip to content
Edit post

Demonstrations against alleged electoral fraud in Serbia continue, 38 protesters arrested

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 25, 2023 11:41 AM 4 min read
Anti-riot police units disperse protesters near the entrance to the Belgrade's city council building during a demonstration in Belgrade, on Dec. 24, 2023. (Andrej Isakovic/AFP via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Demonstrations against alleged electoral fraud occurred for the seventh consecutive night on Dec. 24 in front of the city assembly building in Serbia's capital, Belgrade, resulting in the arrest of 38 protesters for supposedly attempting to break into the building, the Serbian media outlet Kurir wrote.

Opposition parties have claimed that the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), under President Aleksandar Vucic, committed voter fraud and witnessed other irregularities in the municipal elections in Belgrade on Dec. 17. SNS and Vucic declared victory in the parliamentary elections held on the same day.

Miroslav Aleksic, a leader of the opposition faction Serbia Against Violence, said on Dec. 17 that the alliance cannot "accept the results" of the voting in the municipal elections.

"Serbian elections were held under the uneven playing field conditions and conducted with frequent irregularities on and before election day such as misuse of administrative resources, vote buying and violation of the secrecy of the vote," said Viola von Cramon, a German lawmaker and international observer of the elections.

The OSCE also criticized the elections, saying that "pressure on voters as well as the decisive involvement of the President and the ruling party’s systemic advantages undermined the election process overall."

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Pace), which also observed the election, went further in its characterization of the results. "This was a stolen victory . . . and unfair result,” Pace mission chief Stefan Schennach said to the Financial Times.

Vucic has denied the allegations.

Rise of populism in Ukraine’s neighborhood: Not as gloomy as you think
Slovakia’s new Prime Minister, Robert Fico, is consistent in his comments that his country will stop providing aid to Ukraine. He also regularly parrots Russian propaganda, blaming Kyiv for Russia’s invasion. This makes two of them, with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban long being accused of b…

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic thanked Russian intelligence services for providing information about the protests, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova also commented on the demonstrations, claiming that they had been fomented by the West in an attempt to cause a "Maidan" type situation in Serbia, referencing the 2014 EuroMaidan revolution in Ukraine that led to the toppling of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych.

Acting mayor of Belgrade and member of Serbia's ruling party, Aleksandar Sapic, echoed the statement, saying that the protestors' alleged use of violence amounted to a "Maidanization," the Russian state-run media outlet Sputnik reported.

Vucic and the SNS party have been in power for almost a decade and have been criticized for causing democratic backsliding in the country.

Serbia and Russia have a traditionally close relationship, and Serbia has refused to join sanctions against Moscow. Vucic also said that Russia would win its war against Ukraine despite growing support from Western countries, urging a peaceful solution "as soon as possible."

Opinion: What Donald Tusk’s return means for Poland
This week, Donald Tusk won a vote of confidence in Poland’s parliament to lead a new government as the country’s new prime minister, following a failed bid by the incumbent, Mateusz Morawiecki to remain in that role. The vote provoked a visibly nervous reaction from the leader

At the same time, Vucic has called Ukraine a "friendly country" and had previously affirmed that Crimea and Donbas are Ukrainian sovereign territories.

Tensions between Serbia and neighboring Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, have escalated since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Authorities in Kosovo have accused Russia of fomenting unrest to create a distraction from its war in Ukraine.

Serbia has also been used as a conduit for spreading pro-Russian disinformation and propaganda. RFE/RL reported earlier in December that a branch of the pro-Russian organization "Other Ukraine," founded by the exiled Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, was registered in Serbia.

The U.S. has said that Russia actively seeks to destabilize the wider western Balkan region and prevent its integration with European institutions.

Intelligence service claims top judicial official has Russian citizenship; he denies it, cites pressure
Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service has alleged that Roman Ihnatov, head of the High Qualification Commission, a key agency in Ukraine’s judicial system, has Russian citizenship. Ihnatov, who worked as an investigator in Russia in the 1990s and was required by the law to be a Russian citizen at…

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.
Freedom can be costly. Both Ukraine and its journalists are paying a high price for their independence. Support independent journalism in its darkest hour. Support us for as little as $1, and it only takes a minute.
visa masterCard americanExpress

News Feed

Ukraine Daily
News from Ukraine in your inbox
Ukraine news
Please, enter correct email address
5:10 AM

Bulgaria will stop importing Russian oil.

Bulgaria halted Russian oil imports this week as part of the European Union's ban on Russian oil, thereby ending a two-year embargo exemption, the Bulgarian news outlet BGNES reported on March 1.
7:00 PM

Ukrainian, Czech interior ministers meet in Lviv.

Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakusan traveled to Lviv to meet his Ukrainian counterpart Ihor Klymenko and sign a declaration on directions of cooperation between their departments, Klymenko said on March 1.
MORE NEWS

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.