OSCE: Serbia’s election marked by political polarisation and an opposition boycott

The head of a special election assessment mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Urszula Gacek, said on Monday (22 June) in Belgrade that Serbia’s general election had been marked by political polarisation and an opposition boycott.

Moreover, the role of the president of the state, who is also a party leader, cast a shadow on the line between official duties and campaigning, which is a violation of the obligation of respecting the division between the state and parties, Gacek told a press conference at which ODIHR observers presented their assessment of the Serbian general election.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, as Gacek put it, many parties did not hold campaign rallies and the campaign was naturally redirected to the traditional media and to social networks.

“We noticed that the biggest media companies promoted the ruling party’s policy. A very small number of media outlets that offered alternative views did not have enough coverage to form a counterbalance,” said the ODIHR mission chief, adding that because of the pandemic the observation mission was very small and that the statistical sample was too small to draw a general conclusion from.

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