Serbian opposition cries foul after ballot

Belgrade (AFP) - Serbian opposition groups on Friday alleged electoral "fraud" at weekend polls after the latest results showed a far-right coalition has been excluded from parliament.

The leaders of four groups from across the political spectrum called a protest for Saturday to be held in front of the Electoral Commission in Belgrade.

With 99.45 percent of ballots counted, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic's Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) has won nearly 50 percent of the vote, giving it at least 138 seats in the 250-member parliament.

But the Dveri-DSS coalition, which according to earlier results had achieved the five-percent threshold needed for parliamentary representation, has now been now excluded from the assembly.

Later results instead put the far-right coalition on 4.99 percent of the vote, just under the threshold, meaning Vucic's SNS will benefit with more seats.

"Today this happened to Dveri-DSS... tomorrow it can happen to any political party," DSS leader Sanda Raskovic-Ivic told reporters.

"When the country is led towards an authoritarian regime... anything can be expected," she said.

Both Vucic and opposition groups had earlier disputed the fairness of Sunday's general election.

On Thursday, the opposition claimed they had acquired evidence of "huge irregularities and serious electoral fraud".

Vucic countered by accusing his opponents of pressuring the electoral commission in order to make it past the five percent vote threshold.

The electoral commission decided to repeat voting at 15 polling stations involving up to 16,500 voters with the vote expected to take place next week.

Final results will therefore not be announced on Thursday, as required by law.

On Friday, to show solidarity, head of the centre-left Democratic Party, Bojan Patic, called on its supporters to back Dveri-DSS in the rerun vote.

Vucic, 46, controversially called the election two years ahead of schedule, saying he needed a clear mandate to implement reforms needed for Serbia to join the European Union.

Political rivals, however, say he wants to oust smaller parties from parliament so their seats can be redistributed to other parties, boosting the power of the SNS.

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