SLP: Yugoslav Elections - A Lesson In Outside Interference.

red-rebel red-rebel at
Tue Oct 3 18:58:52 MDT 2000



At the invitation of the Socialist Party of Serbia, Britain's Socialist
Labour Party sent a three-person delegation to participate in international
monitoring of the Yugoslav elections held on 24 September. We were the only
British representatives among  250 observers invited from around the world.

Our delegation travelled extensively throughout the country, was able to
talk to officials and voters and visited numerous polling stations, gaining
first-hand experience of what was actually taking place during an election
which was being misreported in many parts of the world.

>From what we saw, the Federal Electoral Commission, an elected all-party
body, did everything in its power to ensure that people were able to cast
their votes without intimidation and in an orderly manner - and certainly in
accordance with procedures which we would expect in a democratic, free

In Serbia, we visited the Muslim areas of Kraljevo and Novi Pazar as well as
observing polling in the capital, Belgrade.

It was only in Montenegro that we observed the following irregularities:

the so-called Democratic Opposition which boycotted the elections in
Montenegro nevertheless gathered outside polling stations there in clear
violation of election procedures, using intimidating behaviour towards
prospective voters;

we received many first-hand reports from people who stated they had been
threatened with the loss of their jobs if they turned out to vote;

we were in no doubt that countless refugees from Kosovo had been
deliberately excluded from the electoral lists in Montenegro despite the
fact that their identity cards, issued in 1999, gave them the right to vote,
and were thus also prevented from voting.

We could only conclude that these tactics of intimidation and
disenfranchisement were designed to benefit the so-called Democratic

We were also appalled at the blatant outside interference in the procedures
from Western governments which are obviously seeking to influence the
outcome of these elections by promising economic aid and the lifting of
sanctions if the Yugoslav people vote in accordance with the wishes of these
governments and the European Union.

Mick Appleyard        Liz Screen               Ian Johnson

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