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Serbians support the continuation of the EU accession process, but questions on election irregularities remain


25 Apr 2016


Europe's East

The S&D Group takes note of the results of the early parliamentary elections in Serbia. Due to large government control over the mainstream media and pressure on citizens to vote for the ruling party, the election process was less fair when compared to the elections two years ago. Also the frequency of the elections negatively affects the stable functioning of the Parliament, which is vital for Serbia's EU accession process.

S&D vice-chair for foreign affairs, neighbourhood policy and enlargement, Knut Fleckenstein MEP, said:
"It is clear that the majority of Serbs have voted for the pro-European course for the country. I therefore congratulate the Prime Minister upon his re-election although the S&D Group remains worried about the many irregularities mentioned in the OSCE/ODIHR preliminary report and in the statement of the opposition parties; namely the abuse by incumbents of the administrative advantages of office, biased media coverage favourable to the ruling parties, and the lack of full transparency in party and campaign funding. Also a number of previous recommendations for election legislation by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission remain unaddressed.
The ruling SNS party has again received one of the strongest electoral mandates possible in a democratic society. It now bears the responsibility of using this mandate in a most accountable and inclusive manner in order to accelerate Serbia's democratic reforms and thus the path towards EU accession. "

S&D vice-president and spokesperson on Serbia, Tanja Fajon, said:
"Following the election result it is now important that SNS reaches out to all segments of Serbian society – including opposition parties – to build a broad consensus around the EU integration and on reforms to the rule of law, the fight against corruption and modernising the economy, as part of the EU accession negotiations.
"The S&D Group reiterates its call for all the progressive forces to co-operate together to consolidate and strengthen the centre-left of Serbia's political spectrum for the next elections."