NGO says elections proceeding peacefully but with numerous voter complaints

NEWS 16.05.2021 14:16
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Source: Marko Dimic/PIXSELL

The election-monitoring NGO GONG said that voting in Sunday's local elections in Croatia was relatively peaceful by noon but that citizens filed numerous complaints.

The complaints referred to violations of election silence, complaints regarding the work of electoral committees, and there were also inquiries about some polling stations that had been relocated and about the possibility of voting for people in self-isolation or people who are ill, GONG said.

The NGO said that in the first couple of hours after the opening of polling stations it received a dozen complaints about electoral committees asking voters if they wanted to vote only for mayoral candidates or for other slates as well.

“GONG informed local election commissions about this and they told us that this was not an instruction or an intentional act of discouraging voters. They noted that they had been informed of such cases and that they warned electoral committees that they should offer all voters all ballots,” GONG said.

The NGO also asked the State Election Commission (DIP) to investigate text messages and messages on social networks in which the transport of voters from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia’s coastal town of Makarska is being arranged, and which also mention providing supporters of one political party with transport and lunch.

GONG also said that other complaints referred mostly to violations of election silence, primarily on social networks, and that it received a complaint from a political party saying that fake text messages were being sent to voters on its behalf. The case was reported to DIP.

DIP spokesman: Normal election day

DIP spokesman Slaven Hojski said that election day was normal with regard to complaints and reports of irregularities.

Most of the complaints refer to posts on social networks and violations of election silence, he said.

He noted that tension was running high among political parties which accused one another of doing something to compromise the other side.

The DIP spokesman also said that several text messages were blocked via the HAKOM regulator.

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