On June,25. the vote on the Sabac municipality in Serbia, the only town governed by the opposition, was annulled by the electoral authorities. Evidence of vote buying and ballot stuffing was sufficient for ordering an election repeat. Three days earlier in Brussels, an MEP speaking at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET), questioned wether the requirement to initiate proceedings against those accused of vote buying in Albania was properly communicated to the country’s authorities and civil society.

This one, along with 14 other similar conditions, must be fulfilled by Albania before EU accession talks can start. This was the decision of the European Council three months ago.

The vote rigging episodes in Serbia and Albania are unrelated. While the urge to electorally conquer a last bastion through “other means” is understandable, there was no need for such “means” in the Serbian general elections. Following a boycott by the opposition parties, who claimed the poll was neither free nor fair, now the national legislature can’t even be formally seen as pluralistic and even less as a check on executive power. In Albania, this happened after judicial wiretaps were published and showed vote rigging on an industrial scale and involving the underworld the opposition left parliament and boycotted local polls.



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