The Prosecutor’s Office to urgently respond to allegations of signature forgery

Without the intention of questioning the independence of the prosecution, the CRTA Election Observation Mission calls on the responsible Public Prosecutor’s Offices to urgently and ex officio investigate cases of forgery of signatures of voter support on several electoral lists in order to establish the facts, to protect the integrity of the electoral process and bring those responsible to justice.

If there was a violation of the law, the consequences are even more severe, since the doubts also apply to some of the lists that the Election Commissions have already officially announced, so voters are left with the option to vote for lists that have reached the ballot illegally.

It is absurd that 12 election lists have been announced for the local elections in Belgrade, and that allegations of forgery of signatures of voter support have been brought against most of them (seven), as well as for one list in the Parliamentary elections, seriously undermining the legitimacy of the electoral process.

The Prosecutor’s Office is an institution that must actively and quickly react to prevent such practices, which make legal procedures meaningless and undermine citizens’ trust in elections, even before the Election Day. The existing legal solutions do not provide Election Commissions with the possibility to “pause” the election process until the Prosecutor’s Office establishes the facts, and an urgent prosecutorial response is even more necessary.

In the mentioned cases of forgery of signatures of voter support, we are referring to potential criminal acts of abuse, i.e. unauthorized collection of personal data of citizens and falsification of official documents.

The CRTA Election Observation Mission reminds the public that cases of falsification of signatures of support were recorded in the 2016 and 2022 Parliamentary elections and that they remained without a judicial epilogue.

In the 2022 elections, the list of the Russian Minority Alliance – Milena Pavlović, Pavle Bihali Gavrin (Serbian-Russian Movement, Serbian-Russian Party Vukovi, Movement of Greeks of Serbia) made it to the ballot and after information that indicated that the signatures were forged were made public, it was not the subject of interest for the prosecution. Also, in the 2016 Parliamentary elections, despite the fact that the RIK expressed its suspicion that 15,000 citizens’ statements for the seven electoral lists submitted were falsified, one of them, the list of the Republican Party, still made it to the ballot.

CRTA has already warned about the shortcomings of the solution according to which signatures of support are verified in municipal and city administrations, as well as the necessity to legally regulate more precisely how electoral lists can carry the status of minorities, in order to prevent abuse of the rights of having a lower number of support signatures and a lower electoral threshold.