Saturday, January 12, 2008

Serbian Elections: Toys Angrily Ejected from Pram

Belgrade will hold it's Presidential Election next week, with incumbent president Boris Tadic facing off against several other candidates including ultra-nationalistic Radical Party candidate (and alleged war criminal) Tomislav Nikolić.

Despite a history of rigged elections under alleged war criminal Slobodan Milošević, since autumn of 2000, independent monitors from the UK and America have declared elections held in Serbia to be largely fair (despite the occasional political assassination.) However, in a rather disturbing move by factions of the Serbian government, their Electoral Committee has decided to refuse their oversight this time.

The dissenting voices include Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica, ironically leader of the Democratic Party. This refusal is no doubt an angry protest aimed at America and the UK, who are in general support of the inevitable independence of Kosovo.

"The U.S. and Britain want to destroy us and take away our territory," one Serbian media outlet reported, voicing a commonly held opinion that the Kosovo province should be returned to Serbian authority - despite having a 90% non-Serbian population and very shaky historical links to the larger country.

In refusing to allow independent monitoring of the elections, the nationalists have actually shot themselves in the foot. Their angry rhetoric has fired up the nation and they stand to do very well in next week's election - possibly even toppling President Tadic.

However, if they do so, it would be a hollow victory. If Tomislav Nikolić was to beat Boris Tadic, the legitimacy of their presidency would be immediately called into question by not allowing foreign observers in to monitor the election process.

Anything other than a win by moderate Tadic will drive the wedge deeper between the United Nations and the increasingly truculent nation of Serbia.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What about some observers from say Russia?