Cultural Revolutions

An Invalid Election

Serbia’s?recent presidential election failed to muster enough votes to be valid.  Only 46 percent of voters cast ballots in the run-off between current Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica and his rival, Miroljub Labus.  Kostunica beat Labus by a two-to-one margin, but, without the minimum turnout of 50 percent, the outcome was void.

What happens next is uncertain.  In theory, the whole procedure should be repeated within 60 days, according to legislation inherited from Milosevic’s time.  In practice, however, there may be difficulties.  If voters could not be motivated to turn out sufficient numbers for the first runoff, there is no reason to believe that things will be different in late December.  The full extent of Serbia’s economic misery and collective depression will be more painfully felt under the leaden winter sky, deepening the sense of alienation from politics, and the futility of its proceedings, so keenly felt by most Serbs.

On the other hand, if the 50-percent requirement introduced by Milosevic is to be removed, it will be necessary to draft the necessary legislation and bring it before the Serbian parliament within days.  The majority in the assembly, however, is controlled by Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and his allies in a dozen
microscopic parties.  That control was enhanced by Djindjic’s expulsion of depxuties belonging to Kostunica’s...

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