Serbian Parliament Majority Supports Local Election Law Changes Despite Opposition

Serbia's ruling party pushes for local elections amid opposition claims of electoral fraud, raising concerns about democracy and EU integration.

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Salman Akhtar
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Serbian Parliament Majority Supports Local Election Law Changes Despite Opposition

Serbian Parliament Majority Supports Local Election Law Changes Despite Opposition

On April 22, 2024, Vladimir Orlić, a member of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) in the Serbian parliament, announced that a two-thirds majority backs modifications to the law on local self-government. The proposed changes would allow elections to be held on June 2 in 88 municipalities and the capital city of Belgrade, despite opposition parties being divided on the issue.

The announcement comes amidst ongoing tensions and allegations of electoral irregularities in Serbia. The opening session of the new National Assembly on February 6 was marked by opposition members walking out, refusing to be sworn in together with the majority SNS, which they accuse of stealing the election. The SNS has denied the opposition's claims of electoral fraud, and the Election Commission rejected all opposition objections. However, domestic and international monitoring organizations, including the OSCE, indicated that there were electoral irregularities in the elections held on December 17, 2023. The SNS and the state leadership have denied these allegations.

The proposed changes to the law on local self-government and the scheduling of local elections for June 2 have further deepened the divide between the ruling SNS and opposition parties. Orlić's statement that a two-thirds majority backs the changes suggests that the SNS has garnered sufficient support in parliament to push through the amendments despite the opposition's objections.

Why this matters: The ongoing political tensions and allegations of electoral fraud in Serbia have raised concerns about the state of democracy and the fairness of elections in the country. The proposed changes to the local self-government law and the scheduling of local elections amidst these tensions could further exacerbate the divide between the ruling party and the opposition, potentially impacting Serbia's political stability and its path towards European Union integration.

The situation in Serbia remains tense, with opposition parties continuing to voice their concerns about the fairness of elections and the ruling party's alleged misconduct. As the country moves towards the scheduled local elections on June 2, it remains to be seen how the political landscape will evolve and whether the opposition's concerns will be addressed. The international community, including the European Union, will likely be closely monitoring the situation in Serbia, as the country's democratic progress and adherence to electoral standards are crucial for its future prospects.

Key Takeaways

  • SNS party proposes changes to local election law, scheduling polls for June 2.
  • Opposition parties accuse SNS of electoral fraud, refuse to be sworn in.
  • Domestic and international monitors report irregularities in Dec 2023 elections.
  • Proposed changes deepen divide between ruling SNS and opposition parties.
  • Tensions raise concerns about Serbia's democracy and EU integration prospects.