A member of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) told the Nova newspaper that he was given residence in a central Belgrade municipality prior to the April 3 elections.
The opposition said before the elections that the SNS was giving its members and supporters residence in the Serbian capital to ensure victory at the elections for the Belgrade City Assembly. Opposition officials showed records of people registered as resident in decrepit buildings.
SNS member Andreja Marinkovic told Nova daily that he is one of some 3,000 people who were registered as resident in the Vracar municipality in Belgrade. He said that he had a contract to work part-time for the municipality, adding that he was told that he did not have to show up for work but that he was paid regularly. Marinkovic said he lost his job after the elections without any explanation.
“I did a lot for the party. I am one of the people who were registered as resident in Vracar even though I don’t live there. I have nothing to do with that address,” he said. Marinkovic said he has no idea how the residence registration process works. He said his residence was registered in Vracar just before the elections.
“Some 3,000 people were registered in Vracar over the previous six months. The whole thing was done on the 9th floor of the municipality building. People complained, there are some decent people in the municipality who didn’t like this. The problem is not with the entire SNS but with the leadership in Vracar,” he said. Marinkovic still has his personal ID with the fake address.
He said that he was forced into the whole thing because of his contract. “This is nothing new. This was done earlier by the Democratic Party (DS), the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS)… Everyone in power does this,” he said.
The Vracar municipal authorities denied Marinkovic’s statements in a press release which claimed that the number of votes in the municipality did not increase between the 2017 and 2022 elections. “There were 63,976 voters registered for the 2017 presidential elections in this municipality and there were 62,612 voters registered for the election in April this year,” the press release said. “Marinkovic’s statement that the SNS registered him at a false address for the elections is not right because he has been registered as resident in Vracar since 2020,” it added. The press release confirmed that he was employed by the municipality from March 18, 2019 to May 7, 2022 but claimed that he threatened to kill himself or speak to opposition media unless his contract was extended.