Skip to content

Shaheen, Ricketts Respond to Reports that Recent Elections in Serbia Were Not Free nor Fair

(Washington, DC) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a senior member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and Chair of the Europe and Regional Security Cooperation Subcommittee, and U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, today released a joint statement in response to reports that the recent elections in Serbia were not fair nor free:

“The national elections in Serbia over the weekend were an opportunity for the country to demonstrate its continued commitment to democracy and free and fair elections. However, we are disappointed to learn that, according to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the elections were technically well administered but there were numerous irregularities which indicate that the elections were neither free nor fair.

“In particular, we were concerned by reports that voters were bused into Serbia to support the ruling party, in addition to reports of vote buying and ballot box stuffing. The Serbian people deserve a true democracy and an electoral process that fully represents the will of the people.

“Right now, Serbia is at a crossroads and in order to advance its European Union membership aspirations, it must align itself with all competences outlined by the EU, which includes free and fair elections. We strongly urge all relevant institutions to take immediate action to consider whether these recent elections should be repeated in specific regions of the country to ensure that the results accurately reflect the wishes of its citizens. The Serbian government must also address the deficiencies and address all irregularities outlined in the OSCE’s preliminary report and in the final report when it becomes available,” the Senators concluded.

Since her election into the Senate in 2009, Senator Shaheen has prioritized her leadership on the Western Balkans and has led numerous congressional delegations to the region. In April 2022, Shaheen led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Serbia as part of a broader trip to the Western Balkans with Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Murphy (D-CT). In February 2022, Senator Shaheen chaired a subcommittee hearing in the Western Balkans with Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and Special Representative to the Western Balkans. In February, at the urging of Shaheen, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the Western Balkans. In May, she also re-introduced her bipartisan legislation with Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), The Western Balkans Democracy and Prosperity Act, which would codify executive orders to address corrupt and anti-Dayton behavior in the Western Balkans and authorize various measures to promote greater economic ties to the region.