CRTA's program director Rasa Nedeljkov said on Monday that the election day was full of tensions, which occasionally escalated into physical violence, and that "repeated gross violations of election rules" were recorded in five percent of polling stations in Serbia and Belgrade.
„Extremely poorly organised and tense election day was the expected outcome of the continuous collapse of the integrity of the election process, marked by strengthening and improving various forms of electoral corruption and endangering citizens’ voting rights,“ Nedeljkov told a news conference.
He added that „the most important part of the damage to the quality of the elections was done before the election day,“ but that Sunday’s irregularities could not influence the elections’ result.
„In the negative synergy of the parties that gained support through undemocratic means, the reluctance of institutions to protect the law and the public interest and the unprofessionalism of most of the most influential media,“ Nedeljkov said.
He added that „the unwillingness of polling boards to fully ensure the voting process in accordance with the procedures was noticed during the election day. That is evidenced at 18 percent of polling stations in Serbia and six in Belgrade. The most common irregularities were: keeping parallel records in and around polling stations, violating the secrecy of the ballot, pressuring voters and buying votes. “
According to Nedeljkov, the most visible thing in larger urban areas was that after the polls closed at 8 pm, 11 percent of voters in Serbia wanted to vote, and in less than half of those polling stations, they were not granted that right.
„In Belgrade, at 8 pm, 27 percent of polling stations had voters who wanted to vote, but they were not allowed to do so in 12 percent of the total number of polling stations in Belgrade. There were violations of the secrecy of the ballot in 14 percent of polling stations, while in Belgrade, that happened at ten percent of polling stations. In a significant percentage of polling stations in Serbia (11 percent) and Belgrade (eight percent), polling station committee members or voters recorded irregularities. The presence of third parties, unauthorised to attend the voting process, was recorded at six percent of polling stations in Belgrade, and four percent in Serbia,“ CRTA said.
During the election day, the most common irregularity was the keeping of parallel records of voters within the polling stations, recorded in 11 percent of polling stations in both Serbia and Belgrade.
Another of the most frequently recorded irregularities was the violation of procedures for voting outside the polling station, i.e., voting „from home“, which was recorded in 12 percent of polling stations in Serbia, and ten percent of polling stations in Belgrade, according to Nedeljkov.
Pavle Dimitrijevic of CRTA said that the organisation sent seven reports to the police, due to five cases of buying votes and two cases of the ‘Bulgarian train,’ a type of vote-rigging.
„In as many as seven cases, our observers eyewitnessed illegal actions; we gathered enough information to report these cases to the Interior Ministry,“ he said.
Dimitrijevic added that the most significant recorded number of such cases was recorded since 2016 when CRTA started monitoring the election process.