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The lighter side of the polls: twin replaces election chief

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Sunday January 21, 2007

Belgrade- Voting without proper identification has become a "trademark irregularity" of Serbian polls, particularly in rural areas where people know each other, a veteran election observer said Sunday in Belgrade. As usual, there were dozens of violations in the early parliamentary elections on Sunday, but not enough to jeopardize the overall regularity of the poll, said the Centre for Free and Democratic Elections spokesman, Marko Blagojevic.

Some of the reported problems were funny, but all were minor - however, the "hit violation of the election" occurred in Gadzin Han, a village in south-eastern Serbia, Blagojevic said.

"There, it turned out, the president of the local election commission never showed up for elections, but was replaced by his twin brother, who needless to say, was not authorized for the job," Blagojevic said.

The runner-up was reported from a polling station in Plandiste, in the north-east where the local election commission was disbanded when five members, representing five different political parties, were found to be from the same family.

The latest incidents by no means surpassed the case of a local chief, who in the 2002 poll terrorized officials and voters into taking their shoes off, so they would not damage the freshly-polished floor in the school where the polling station had been set up.

Cesid, a privately-funded election-monitoring agency, traditionally presents the lighter side of elections along with the dry data, especially since the practice of vote-rigging receded following the fall of Slobodan Milosevic in autumn 2000.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency