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Hundreds of opposition protesters took to the streets of the Serbian capital Belgrade this week, shortly after Sunday’s parliamentary elections saw the ruling party of President Aleksandar Vučić secure a major victory, despite allegations of fraud and irregularities, Radio Free Europe reported.
Results showed that the governing Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) won around 46 percent of the vote, while the leading opposition coalition, Serbians Against Violence (SPN), received just over 23 percent.
Vučić’s party also secured a win in the municipal elections, including in Belgrade.
But criticism soon emerged over the polls’ results, with international observers alleging a series of “irregularities” during the race, including “vote buying,” according to Agence France-Presse.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s monitoring mission lamented that Vučić’s involvement in the election and pro-Vučić media bias made for a campaign that it deemed unfair.
Germany called the alleged irregularities “unacceptable” for a country that aspires to join the European Union.
Meanwhile, the SPN accused the government of busing in unregistered voters from neighboring Bosnia and other Balkan nations to illegally cast their ballots in the capital.
Analysts described Sunday’s elections as a referendum on Vučić’s rule.
In November, the president dissolved parliament and called for early elections, a move that came amid months-long demonstrations following two back-to-back mass shootings that killed 19 people in May.
The protests initially focused on violence in the Balkan country but soon evolved into calls for Vučić and other leaders to resign.