TIMELINE: Serbian Presidential Electoral Campaign 2017
Home Page

The Balkans Today

Up to the minute news and updates from the Balkan region

TIMELINE: Serbian Presidential Electoral Campaign 2017

    Voters of Serbia are casting ballots in the presidential election on Sunday to choose a successor to their departing one-term President, Tomislav Nikolic.

    Polling stations are open from 7 am to 8 pm CET (GMT+2), and the preliminary results are expected to be published by the State Election Commission, RIK, a few hours after polls close. Read more: Serbs Head out to Vote for New President

    Photo: Beta 

    The number of people entitled to vote is 6,724,949. Voters may cast ballots at 8,523 polling stations.

    Voting will also take place at 90 polling stations in Kosovo and at 53 polling stations in 23 other foreign countries.

    According to Ispos Strategic Marketing between 56.2 and 60.4 of electoral is expected to vote on Sunday’s presidential elections.

    Eleven men are competing to become Serbia’s head of state: Prime Minister and the ruling Serbian Progressive Party's candidate, Aleksandar Vucic, former Ombudsman Sasa Jankovic; former foreign minister and former President of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic; the spoof character Ljubisa Preletacevic "Beli"; the leader of the "Enough is Enough" movement, Sasa Radulovic; the politician Milan Stamatovic; Nenad Canak, from the League of Vojvodina Social Democrats; rightwingers Miroslav Parovic, Bosko Obradovic and Aleksandar Popovic; and the leader of ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party Vojislav Seselj.

    Nenad Canak, presidential candidate and the leader of the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina (LSV), voted in Serbian second city of Novi Sad. Photo: Beta 

    Aleksandar Vucic, Serbian Prime Minister and presidential candidate for ruling Progressives casts his ballot at a polling station in Belgrade accompanied by his daughter.
    Photo: EPA/Andrej Cukic
    Photo: EPA/Andrej Cukic
    Photo: EPA/Andrej Cukic
    Aleksandar Popovic, presidential candidate for the right-oriented Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, casted his ballot in Belgrade.
    Photo: Beta
    Milan Stamatovic, the mayor of the western town of Cajetina that is competing on behalf of the Association of Citizens “For a Healthy Serbia” casted his vote in Zlatibor. 
    Photo: Beta
    Photo: Beta
    Kosovo police is assisting OSCE in securing Serbian presidential elections in Kosovo. Police is securing polling stations and will be accompaning the vehicles that will transport the ballots to Raska and Vranje in Serbia, after the vote.
    On March 23, the Serbian Electoral Commission said votes from Kosovo will be transferred to Serbia for counting, which Serbia’s Constitutional Court deemed illegal in June 2016. 
    “Most of the polling places were open on time,” Rasa Nedeljkov from Serbian NGO the Centre for Transparency, Research and Accountability, CRTA, told a press conference.
    Nedeljkov said 87 per cent of polling stations were open on time, 11 per cent before 7am, and 2 per cent with a delay. 
    In Valjevo, western Serbia, voting started at 9am instead of 7am, so the citizens will have an extra two hours to cast their ballots after polling stations close across the rest of the country.
    The elections were launched without significant problems.
    Presidential candidate Vuk Jeremic cast his ballot in Belgrade accompanied by his wife Natasa.
    Photo: Beta
    Photo: Beta
    Sasa Jankovic, former ombudsman and presidential candidate, cast his ballot this morning in Belgrade.
    Photo: Marko Drobnjakovic/AP
    Photo: Marko Drobnjakovic/AP
    By 10am on Sunday, 5.8 per cent had cast votes to choose the next Serbian president, the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, CESID, announced. 
    In the northern province Vojvodina, 5.3 per cent had voted, and in central Serbia 5.3 per cent. 
    CESID will release more information at 3pm.
    by vanja.djuric edited by gordana.andric 4/2/2017 8:21:18 AM
    Vojislav Seselj, presidential candidate for right-wing Serbian Radical Party, cast his ballot in Belgrade neighbourhood of Batajnica.
    Photo: Beta
    Photo: Beta
    By 10am, about 13 per cent of voters in Montenegro cast their ballot at the Serbian embassy in Podgorica.
    According to the State Electoral Commission, by 10am 10.56 per cent had voted, not including votes from Kosovo. 
    Vojvodina saw the highest turnout so far of 12.06 per cent, while in central Serbia it was 9.73, and in Belgrade 9.79 per cent. 
    Turnout in the first round of 2012’s presidential elections was 11.04 per cent by 10am.
    Bosko Obradovic, the presidential candidate for the right-oriented party Dveri, cast his ballot in Belgrade with his family.
    Photo: Beta
    Photo: Beta
    Miroslav Provic, leader of the National Freedom Movement and a presidential candidate, voted with his family in Novi Sad.
    Photo: Beta

    In 2012, Serbia’s president was elected in the second round of voting.

    Out of 12 candidates, Boris Tadic of the Democratic Party (a former president who served two terms, from 2004 until 2012) and Tomislav Nikolic, head of the Serbian Progressive Party, garnered the most votes in the first round.

    Tadic won 25.31 per cent and Nikolic 25.05 per cent.
    The leader of the Progressives triumphed in the second round on May 20 with 49.54 per cent of the votes, while Democrat Tadic had 47.31 per cent.
    By 10am, 19 per cent of voters in Republika Srpska, RS, had cast their ballots for the next Serbian president, including RS president Milorad Dodik.
    Dodik, who has dual Serbian and Bosnian citizenship, told reporters this was his first time voting in the Serbian elections.
    Serbian NGO the Center for Transparency, Research and Accountability, CRTA, announced that turnout by 10am was 10 per cent, which is 0.6 per cent more than last year’s general elections. 
    There have been no significant problems so far, said Rasa Nedeljkov of CRTA. 
    He added that there are 60 mobile monitoring teams near to polling stations. They noticed campaign symbols near some, which is considered as breaking the pre-election silence.
    In Temerin (a town near to Novi Sad in Vojvodina province), observers saw signs of vote-buying and will file a lawsuit with the prosecutor in Novi Sad.
    Three independent voters, who wished to remain anonymous, told BIRN they were contacted this morning by Serbian Progressive Party activists and supporters asking whether they had cast their ballot, and when they will vote. Some of them were called two to three times.
    Sasa Jankovic, former Serbian ombudsman and presidential candidate, told reporters that he plans to build up the country’s institutions.
    “After this, nothing in Serbia will be the same. After a long, long time we’ll start putting things in their order,” Jankovic said this morning.
    Photo: Beta
    Serbian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Aleksandar Vucic hopes Serbia will choose stability, continued economic reforms, and support for the government. 
    “And how it will be, I really don’t know. However, I want to believe that nobody would dare to destabilize Serbia, which was, unfortunately, the promise in their campaign,” said Vucic after voting. 
    He added he didn’t know if he could expect victory in the first round, but hopes for success. He said that if he loses, he will accept the result and send congratulations to the victor. 
    Whether he will merge the roles of Prime Minister and President if he wins, Vucic didn’t say, explaining only that he would respect the Constitution.
    Photo: EPA/Andrej Cukic
    Sasa Radulovic, candidate for Enough is Enough, cast his ballot and invited others to go to the polls to support their preferred candidate.
    “With greater turnout we can win,” Radulovic said.
    Photo: Anadolu

    Candidate Vuk Jeremic said today that the elections are important for Serbia and that he hopes it will be significant step towards changing the country.

    “I hope people will vote in large numbers, that they will vote for change, and that while voting for changes they think about the second round and who is the one who can bring about that change easily,” said Jeremic this morning.

    He underlined the importance of the integrity of the voting process and robust vote counting.
    Jeremic is former foreign minister and president of the UN General Assembly.
    Photo: EPA/Srdjan Suki

    Candidate for the nationalist Serbian Radical Party, Vojislav Seselj, told reporters he hopes he will make it through to the second round, in which he expects a “fierce clash” with ruling party candidate Aleksandar Vucic.

    “I am happy in advance for that clash. I believe that Aleksandar Vucic will not be able to avoid a TV debate, like he has for the past two and a half years,” said Seselj.

    Asked to comment on rumours he is actually Vucic’s man, he said only: “How can I be his man when I am older than he 16 years?”

    Photo: Beta 
    by vanja.djuric edited by gordana.andric 4/2/2017 11:43:26 AM
    Voters in Kosovo are going to the polls jointly, organised by Serbian Progressives Party. In Gracanica, the first, larger group voted as soon as polls opened in the company of Branimir Stojanovic, a member of Serbia’s ruling Progressives and deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo.
    Employees of public companies and the state administration in Mitrovica, north Kosovo, went to the polls, gathered and organised by their directors and managers.
    Photo: Serbian Progressive Party Gracanica/Facebook
    Enough is Enough said in a press release that its leader, presidential candidate Sasa Radulovic, was verbally attacked by a member of the Progressives’ electoral board at the polling station in Belgrade’s municipality Cukarica.
    A man started yelling as Radulovic was giving a statement to the reporters. Another man started pushing Radulovic and threatened a cameraman who was filming him.
    Photo: Beta
    Photo: Beta
    Photo: Beta
    Independent candidate Luka Maksimovic, who became famous as comedy character Ljubisa Preletacevic Beli, voted at the primary school Momcilo Zivojinovic in his hometown Mladenovac. 
    He came wearing his trademark white woollen socks. After casting his vote, Beli stayed for a while taking pictures with citizens.
                                                       Photo: EPA
                                                      Photo: EPA
    President of the Democratic party, Dragan Sutanovac, voted today at about 2pm, and said that Serbia needs change.
    “Today is the day when we can implement this change […] I’m asking those who haven’t voted yet to go out [to the polling stations] and circle number one for [former Ombudsman] Sasa Jankovic, so we can celebrate tonight,” said Sutanovac.
    Photo: Democratic party
    President of the opposition party Nova Srbija, Velimir Ilic, was prevented from voting in today's election because his name was not listed in the register of voters. Ilic's party endorsed opposition candidate Vuk Jeremic for president.

    Until recently, Nova Srbija was part of the ruling majority, led by Aleksandar Vucic's Progressive Party. Ilic left the coalition after he was denied the post of general manager in the state-owned Koridori Srbije road construction company.
    Tomislav Nikolic, Serbia’s outgoing president, said he hopes his successor would continue the path he had intended to.
    “[I hope that] we will keep friendships, not close the gates that I’ve opened, and open new ones,” Nikolic said, adding that he is confident Serbia will not change its policies.
    Photo: Beta

    Nenad Canak, presidential candidate and leader of the League of Social Democrats of
    Vojvodina, LSV, told reporters he believed the elections would be fair and that
    voters will be able to freely express their will.

    “I hope the elections go on in a fair atmosphere, unlike the campaign. The
    campaign was very difficult, and I hope that citizens will freely express their
    will at the polling stations,” Canak said.

    Photo: Beta 

    Bosko Obradovic, presidential candidate for right-oriented Dveri, said that the policies he represents are “without a doubt coming to Serbia, and winning across Europe.”
    “Dveri’s time is yet to come. The politics for which we stand are the right one for the people – that is, a politics of return to our national identity, domestic economic interests, employment in our own businesses and agricultures, [and] protection of borders from the migrant crisis,” Obradovic said.
    Photo: Beta

    Milan Stamatovic told reporters this morning that Serbia is not only electing a new president, but its future.

    “I hope that citizens will recognise those who will lead to Serbia’s healing, in the sea of false promises and untruths,” he said.

    Photo: Beta 

    Aleksandar Popovic, presidential candidate for the Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, said this morning that the elections were Serbia’s chance for new beginning.
    “The ruling coalition sees Serbia’s path as a dead-end street, and that street is EU membership,” Popovic said, adding he hopes the country would choose a new path.
    Photo: Beta
    Serbian police have intervened at the polling station in Kula, a small town in the Vojvodina province, reports news agency Beta.
    The president of the election commission in Kula, Bojana Radovanovic, said she saw man giving money to a voter in front of the polling station.
    Radovanovic confirmed that the police and prosecutor have responded.
    According to the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, CESID, turnout by 2pm was 29 per cent, Beta news agency reports.
    Photo: Beta
    Polling stations in Chicago, New York and Washington are now closed. The largest turnout was seen in Washington, where the embassy said 83.3 per cent out of 180 registered voters had cast their ballots.

    In Chicago, turnout was 67.4 per cent of 203 registered voters, while in New York 192 out of 246 registered voters cast their ballots. The results will be published after polling in Serbia is closed.
    Serbian NGO the Centre for Transparency, Research and Accountability, CRTA, has announced that there have been no significant problems in the voting process so far.
    Rasa Nedeljkov from CRTA said that observers reported isolated cases of irregularities, but that they did not pose a threat to the electoral process.
    Observers noted voting without personal documents, and conducting of parallel lists, which is forbidden in Serbia.
    Nedeljkov said that CRTA filed three charges because of suspicions of vote-buying in Vojvodina's small towns Temerin, Beocin and Slana Bara.
    Photo: Beta
    According to the State Electoral Commission, RIK, turnout by 2pm was 29.94 per cent, not including Kosovo. 

    In central Serbia the turnout was 29.82 per cent, while in the northern province of Vojvodina 30.17 and in Belgrade 31.84 per cent.

    In the presidential elections of 2012, the turnout by 2pm was 31.67 per cent.
    The Serbian Progressive Party has accused the presidential candidate of the Enough is Enough movement, Sasa Radulovic, of threatening members of the local electoral commission in the Belgrade municipality Cukarica.
    "We think that is scandalous that anyone, let alone a candidate for president of the Republic of Serbia, is making threats of beatings and assassination to citizens," said the ruling Progressive party in a press release.
    Enough is Enough announced earlier that its leader, presidential candidate Sasa Radulovic, had been verbally attacked by a member of the Progressives’ electoral board at the polling station in Belgrade’s municipality Cukarica.

    The State Electoral Commission, RIK, has denied that an opposition party leader, Velimir Ilic, was not listed in the register of voters. Ilic previously said he was prevented from voting because his name was not registered.

    RIK president Vladimir Dimitrijevic said that the Commission checked with the Ministry of State Administration and Local Government, and found that Ilic was in fact registered. 

    Ilic, whose Nova Srbija party endorsed opposition candidate Vuk Jeremic, was until recently part of the ruling majority led by Aleksandar Vucic’s Progressive Party. He left the coalition after he was denied the post of general manager in the state-owned Koridori Srbije road construction company.

    Turnout in Presevo and Bujanovac is very low, Beta news agency was told by coordinator for elections in Presevo, Agim Imeri.
    According to Imeri, turnout in Presevo by 2pm was 9.2 per cent, and in Bujanovac 9.2 per cent.
    Imeri added that in eight polling stations in Bujanovac, nobody voted at all.
    The majority of the population in Presevo and Bujanovac is Albanian.
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement

Premium Selection

08 Feb 19

EU Missteps Fuelling Perception of Balkan Double Standards

Politicians in the Balkans frequently accuse the EU of double standards in its dealings with the region. Do they have a point? 

08 Feb 19

Faces From the Belgrade Protesting Crowds

In the months-long protests in Serbia, those marching every weekend are not all demonstrating for purely political reasons – but also to raise their voices over other burning everyday problems.