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INFO   :::  Press Release - PAGE 6 > A Blow Against Minorities


A Blow Against Minorities

Press release

Belgrade, April 10, 2008


The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia strongly protests against the decision whereby the Republican Electoral Commission, only one month before the scheduled elections, annulled the rule providing that signatures by 3,000 citizens suffice for submission of minority electoral lists. The prior rule was advantageous to minority parties as it made it possible for them to actively partake in Serbia's parliamentary life. Subsequent changes of electoral rules once again testify that Serbia lacks a coherent minority policy. Its electoral legislation is obviously prone to voluntaristic interventions and partisan interests.

Despite the fact that the Constitutional Court of Serbia acted by law, its decision, made at the initiative of the Serbian Radical Party, clearly plays into the hands of that party now struggling for every parliamentary seat in attempt to finally overrule Serbia.

It was the duty of the Republican Electoral Commission to interpret electoral legislation well in advance and thus enable minority parties to start collecting newly prescribed 10,000 signatures in due time. Many of them will not be capable to compose their electoral lists in so short time, which will factually remove them from Serbia's political life.

The Albanian minority has already announced that it would not be in the position to collect additional signatures in such short period. This latest move will thus be yet another testimony that Albanians are unwelcome as a minority community in Serbia and still treated in the context of settlement of the Kosovo question. And, bearing in mind the fact that Serbia would not recognize Kosovo's independence, that move also indicates that the official Belgrade needs a neuralgic point to instrumentalize it in its future relations with Kosovo and for further distancing from the European Union.





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