The Serbian Job

How to Steal an Election Fair and Square

by , May 19, 2012

Tempting as it would be to conclude that Serbia chose despair, it would be unfair. A choice loses any meaning when it is denied, and the widespread fraud made it abundantly clear to Serbia’s electorate that the May 6 elections were meaningless. It mattered not how the people actually voted, but who got to count the ballots.

Having already subverted the vote once, and declared treason to be the supreme form of statesmanship, the ruling clique decided to pull out all the stops, and simply falsify the election. After all, democracy can’t fail if it means whatever one declares it to mean.

Incongruity

Elsewhere in Europe, the governing parties were trounced in the polls that weekend. In France, Nicolas Sarkozy lost the runoff to Francois Hollande. In Greece, the election resulted in a hung parliament, with the two previously dominant parties drastically losing support. The man favored to succeed German Chancellor Angela Merkel lost badly the crucial elections in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Only in Serbia did the voters overwhelmingly back the government — if one is to believe the official results.

It may not appear so at first glance, but Serbian politics is as convoluted and treacherous as anything in the "Game of Thrones". The currently dominant Democratic party actually lost votes from 2008 — but its junior partner, the Socialists, got many more. Groups like United Regions — led by former "robber czar" (being as he was in charge of the robber barons) Mladjan Dinkic — and "Reversal," led by militantly pro-Empire Cedomir Jovanovic, got just enough votes to back the government, but not enough to be uppity.

Meanwhile, the formerly strongest opposition party simply vanished, usurped by a breakaway faction calling itself the Progressive Party. The Progs filled the Radical niche almost perfectly, winning the largest chunk of the votes but once again unable to muster enough to get a parliamentary majority. The Serbian Democrats shed votes since 2008, but said they were "satisfied." Dveri, a movement that aimed to mobilize the undecided and embittered, failed to reach the 5% threshold. According to the official results, again.

Fraud Galore

Reports of massive fraud came within a day. Bribed voters, inflated voter rolls, improperly signed reports, sacks of stolen ballots discovered in trash bins, numerous ballots with legitimate votes for opposition parties invalidated by having another party circled in a different pen… the list just goes on.

It wasn’t just the opposition — Dveri and the Progressives, primarily — alleging fraud, but the regime’s allies as well. A Hungarian minority party alleged they had been robbed of some 30,000 votes, a full third of their initial tally. United Regions also claimed almost 6,000 stolen votes in the northern province of Vojvodina, keeping them below the threshold for the provincial assembly. Even "Reversal" argued they were shortchanged — and all pointed to the ruling Democrats as the culprit. After three days, however, once the Democrats’ media machinery began to spin, they all fell silent and endorsed the Democrats’ president in the coming runoff.

On the opposition side, only Dveri has persisted in questioning the elections. The Progressives have agreed to take part in the runoff on Sunday, May 20, and were endorsed by Serbian Democrats.

The biggest surprise has been the relentless criticism of election fraud from the ranks of Empire’s ideological storm troops: Pescanik and e-novine, as well as Vesna Pesic, once a leading liberal-democrat turnedoutspoken critic of Tadic and his coterie.

Nothing to See Here

Not surprisingly, the mainstream Western media pretended everything was just fine. Though back in March they had made an unholy fuss about the spurious allegations of irregularities in Russian polls, and outright lied about the number of people protesting, the actual fraud in Serbia was dismissed as “nationalist claims”. Compared to Serbia, Russia had unprecedented transparency at the polls, with hundreds of thousands of webcams. Yet the OSCE objected to the Russian vote, while declaring the travesty in Serbia "free and fair".

Protests

Curiously, there have been few street protests in Serbia, though demonstrations have long been a common reaction to government abuse, real or imagined, everywhere else. There is a reason for this, though — call it, "thrice bitten, always shy."

Back in 1996-97, the "Together" coalition organized massive street protests, accusing then-president Slobodan Milosevic of stealing the local elections. After several tense months, Milosevic conceded — but the coalition immediately plundering the people through patronage, and collapsed due to infighting. It took a massive investment of money and propaganda by the Empire to make them presentable again.

The result of that was the October 2000 coup, falsely presented as a popular revolution. In fact, it was a scripted regime change that would end up a template for Imperial takeovers elsewhere.

The last mass protest, following the February 2008 "declaration of independence" by the Albanians in the occupied province of Kosovo, was derailed by provocateurs who attacked the U.S. Embassy and started smashing shop windows. This focused all the media attention on the incidents and away from Kosovo, suggesting that the whole affair was professionally managed.

There was a protest march on Thursday, organized by Dveri. The organizers claimed ten thousand protesters, the local media said two. By that point, all the other parties had accepted the presidential runoff, thus implicitly validating the elections and leaving Dveri to stand alone.

The Fix

There are several possible outcomes of the Sunday runoff. One quite plausible theory is that the whole circus is supposed to facilitate a switch from a worn-out quisling (Tadic) to a fresh one (Nikolic). Despite being labeled "nationalist" in the press, Nikolic has so far demonstrated only the willingness to betray or abandon any person or idea that might hinder his rise to power.

Tadic has the endorsements of most foreign powers and almost all the parliamentary parties. Those opposed to the government and embittered by the fraud are torn between holding their noses and voting for Nikolic, and boycotting the vote — and thus directly helping Tadic. If Tadic wins, he will take it as a vindication of his policies, and keep destroying Serbia. If Nikolic wins, it will give legitimacy to the rotten system and blunt any impetus for change. Everything seems set up as a win-win proposition for the Empire, and a lose-lose for Serbia.

This creates a bigger problem, though. So long as everyone accepts that playing by the rules gives them a fair chance to get ahead, a system persists because it is perceived as fair — whether it actually is or not. The Empire relies entirely on the perception of its benevolence and fairness, because they are manifestly nonexistent in reality. With the electoral farce in Serbia exposing the entire system as hopelessly rotten, there is little trust left that playing by the rules will help the disenfranchised. At that point, violence usually begins to look like the only way out.

Trouble Elsewhere

It also looks as if triumphing in Serbia won’t do the Empire much good, as trouble is brewing elsewhere in the Balkans. A new election in Greece is unlikely to return a parliament more inclined to starve the country in order to feed the European banksters. By leaving the Euro zone, the Greeks could start chain of events that might prove fatal to the bureaucracy in Brussels. The question now is whether the EUrocrats will resort to Serbian-style vote-rigging, or an outright takeover.

Meanwhile, in the neighboring Macedonia, the arrest of Albanian Islamic militants accused of a brutal murder of five fishermen has resulted in jihadist riots. The 2001 civil war could flare back up at any time. And in Kosovo, the regime of Hashim Thaci is braced to resume its assault on the remaining Serb-inhabited areas, with Empire’s blessing.

So, while Serbia hasn’t turned into a beacon of resistance to Imperial might, it is obvious that the message of despair and futility of resisting isn’t getting any traction in the world, either.

Read more by Nebojsa Malic