Presidential Election in Serbia Fails for Low Turnout

The second round of presidential elections in Serbia has failed, leaving the country without a new president. This became known as soon as polling stations were closed.

Zoran Lucic, a member of the Belgrade Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, told journalists that the voter turnout had been below 50% and therefore the Serbian President had not been elected. According to the current election law, at least 50% of voters must take part in elections to make them effective. Preliminary data suggest that this time the turnout was 45.5%.

Vojislav Kostunica, the incumbent Yugoslav President and the leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia, has won 66.7 percent of the votes, while deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus (an independent candidate) had 31.3 percent.

Belgrade analysts blame the election's failure on the Yugoslav elite, which has been unable to amend properly the election law for the two years of being in power after Milosevic's ouster. It is pointed out that second-round election can hardly be successful with such a high threshold.

According to the current legislation, the entire electoral process must be repeated - from the appointment of the election date, naming candidates and their approval to electing the president by Serbia's citizens. The election must be held within 30 days after the incumbent president's term expires.

Incumbent Serbian President Milan Milutinovic leaves his post on January 5th, 2003.

On the other hand, the parliamentary election law which is also applied to presidential elections stipulates that the next election must take place 45 to 90 days after the failed election. Therefore, the electoral campaign in the republic must be very energetic.

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Author`s name Editorial Team