Serbia, FRY Final Report: October 1999-September 30, 2002

Publication Date: 
30 Nov 2002

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In 1999, the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) received a modification to its cooperative agreement (EE-A-0097-00034-00) with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to conduct election-related activities in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). The work that was done formed a series of activities conducted under a largely restrictive, politically hostile and tumultuous environment. The conduct of the activities have paved the way for more intense involvement in a reformed and more democratic election system should the Serbian government invest itself in such reform. The activities IFES conducted over the course of the agreement from June 2000 - March 2002 represent possibilities for an increased democratic future for Serbia. These four projects form rudimentary election elements that, if implemented and continued, could form the base of an excellent start in election reform. When combined with other basic reform elements, the net result would be a system that represents a good-faith effort in addressing international election standards and democratic reform. Work that IFES engaged in includes:

2000 Pre-Election Technical Assessment: providing baseline information on the status of the Serbian election system and identifying concrete work for improving the system prior to elections in 2000.

Observation Training: planning and coordinating training programs for international observers to the September 24 federal elections in the FRY, and to assist in defraying cost for the observers.

Assistance to the Serbian Republican Election Commission (REC): providing assistance to the REC in helping voters understand the voting process and poll workers better understand their duties in the 2000 parliamentary elections

Redistricting Assessment: participation in the Task Force on Electoral Boundaries through supplying an electoral boundary expert to assess electoral redistricting in the southern Serbian municipalities of Bujanovac and Medvedja.

Beginning in 1991, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia began to disintegrate as the republics of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia seceded and formed independent states. Montenegro, through the referendum process, opted to remain within Yugoslavia with the Republic of Serbia. As a result, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) was established with each of the constituent republics enjoying sovereign and equal status according to the Constitution adopted by the Federal Parliament on April 27, 1992.

In July 2000, at the direction of President Slobodan Milosevic, the FRY parliament enacted sweeping constitutional and statutory changes that significantly altered the electoral system of FRY. The most. important changes were (1) to mandate the direct election of the President of FRY, (2) to mandate the direct election of the upper chamber of Parliament -- the Chamber of Republics, and (3) the removal of a requirement for at least 50 per cent turnout to validate the election. On the heels of these changes, President Milosevic called for federal, parliamentary and presidential elections to be held on September 24, 2000.

was widely expected that fall 2000 elections would not be "free and fair," nor allow for the true expression of the majority will. However, in general it appeared that most of the expected types of fraudulent activity occurred, but in a more-or-less random fashion. It did not appear that any massive systematic fraudulent activities occurred on election day. The election and ensuing events toppled the Milosevic regime and on Saturday, October 7, Vojislav Kostunica was sworn in as the new President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The election work of IFES over the course of the cooperative agreement was conducted as political and electoral events took place in Serbia. The time frame below sets out the context of that work within the election framework.

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