Parliamentary Chamber: Vece Gradjana


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  Vece Gradjana

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  24 September 2000

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the Chamber of Citizens on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  President Slobodan Milosevic announced in Belgrade on 27 July 2000 that federal parliamentary and presidential elections would be held on 24 September 2000. Serbian municipal and local elections would also take place that same day.

The Montenegrin authorities repeatedly announced that they would boycott any federal elections held under the new electoral legislation, approved on 6 July 2000. The new law states that the President will be elected directly - instead of by the Parliament - for up to two terms of four years each and that members of the upper house are to be elected directly by popular vote, instead of being elected in equal numbers by the Serbian and Montenegrin parliaments. Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic dismissed the elections as a farce.

During the campaign, President Milosevic repeatedly accused the outside world of trying to undermine the country and wanting to destroy its government. On 18 September 2000, a trial opened in Belgrade of Western leaders who were accused of war crimes. Among the accused were US President Bill Clinton, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

The opposition was divided on whether or not to participate in the federal and local vote. The United States called on the opposition to unite against President Milosevic and stressed the importance of supporting a single presidential candidate. Nevertheless, the opposition was split between two candidates: Mr Vojislav Kostunica, nominated by the eighteen-party Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) and the Mayor of Belgrade, Mr Vojislave Mihajlovic, chosen by the biggest single opposition party, the Serbian Renewal Movement.

The European Union announced a few days before the elections that a vote to oust President Milosevic would bring an end to the economic sanctions. The EU had imposed a wide range of sanctions, including an oil embargo and travel restrictions against Belgrade in 1999 over its persecution of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Only countries that had opposed NATO's bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999 were invited to monitor the elections, while the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was not welcome.

Two days before the elections, the Prime Minister, Mr Momir Bulatovic, announced that President Milosevic would remain in power until the middle of 2001 (when his mandate would expire) and would also nominate the new Prime Minister, whatever the outcome of the polls.

Opposition activists predicted that the ballot might be rigged as one completed ballot paper, with President Milosevic's name circled, had circulated. The voting ended amid reports from monitors of numerous irregularities, including improper supervision and lack of privacy at some polling stations. A spokesman for a team of local independent observers, the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, declared that members of the DOS had been barred from some polling booths and refused access to voters' registers. Nevertheless, the Yugoslav Electoral Commission declared the elections free and fair.

Two days after the elections, the opposition, alleging electoral fraud, rejected the decision by the Federal Electoral Commission to hold a second round in the presidential elections. According to the Commission, neither Mr Milosevic nor Mr Kostunica had won the necessary 50 per cent of the votes. More than 100,000 people gathered in towns and cities across Serbia for several nights after the polling day demanding that President Milosevic concede defeat, as the opposition candidate claimed victory, stating that according to his party's tally of more than 97.5 per cent of the votes, he was ahead of Mr Milosevic by 55 to 35 per cent.

In the federal Parliament, the opposition DOS won 58 seats in the Chanber of Citizens and 10 in the Chanber of Republics, as against 44 and 7 respectively for the Socialist Party of Serbia - Yugoslav Left (SPS-JUL). The Socialist National Party (SNP) came in third with 28 and 19 seats.

The Yugoslav Electoral Commission officially ordered a second round of voting for 8 October 2000. The opposition threatened to organise a general strike unless the Electoral Commission proved that a run-off was necessary. Over the first weekend of October, the strike went into effect and the police failed to regain control. On the evening of 5 October 2000, opposition supporters sacked the Parliament building, took over the State television station and official news agency Tanjung, and started negotiations with security forces.

On 6 October 2000, Mr Milosevic surrendered power in a televised address in which he congratulated Mr Kostunica. The following day Mr Kostunica was formally inaugurated as President, and on 4 November 2000, a new Cabinet was sworn in.

Round no 1 (24 September 2000): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 7 848 818
Voters 5 036 478 (64 %)

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) 58
Socialist Party of Serbia - Yugoslav Left (SPS-JUL) 44
Socialist National Party (SNP) 28
Serb Radical Party (SRS) 5
Serbian People's Party (SNS) 2
Others 1

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 128
Women: 10
Percent of women: 7.25%

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Copyright 2000 Inter-Parliamentary Union