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Belgrade Media Report 22 Jun

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LOCAL PRESS

RIK: 62.73 percent of the electorate processed, 3 lists passed the threshold (Tanjug/B92/RTS)
Votes from Kosovo and Metohija delivered to Vranje (RTS)
Ipsos, CeSID: 93.2% of the votes processed: A convincing victory of SNS (B92)
Vucic declares victory; “More than two million votes” (B92)
Dacic: Absolute winner are SNS and Vucic; we are vice champions (Nova)
Sapic: We have made an extraordinary result (RTS)
Pastor: Historical success (RTS)
Reactions of heads of election lists to election results (RTS)
Djilas: Boycott successful, government won’t have legitimacy (Beta)
Jovanovic: Mass boycott in Belgrade, turnout some 35 pct (N1)
Cajetina municipality remains opposition-held after Sunday’s vote (Beta)
Elections in Belgrade: Changes in several municipalities (Novosti/B92)
Gratitude to Mexico for its principled position on Kosovo issue (Tanjug)
Another 96 cases (RTS)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dodik and Cubrilovic say strong Serbia is guarantee of existence and survival of RS (ATV)
Izetbegovic: Elections will take place in autumn (Glas Srpske)
Prutina’s statement regarding possible further postponement of elections sparks reactions of RS officials (ATV)
B&H politicians comment on SDA-HDZ B&H agreement regarding Mostar (Nezavisne novine)
Radoncic: Neither Izetbegovic nor Covic should take agreement on Mostar as personal success (Face TV)
Dodik: Serbia has clear approach to Kosovo issue and UN Resolution 1244 will be rehabilitated (ATV)
Cvijanovic: Lavrov knows situation very well and we are grateful to Russia which is dedicated to DPA (Glas Srpske)
Salkic: None will be able to erase Bosniaks in the RS and Serb representatives should understand this (Fena)
Bijeljina City Assembly: SNSD takes over posts, SDS loses power after 30 years (FTV)
Radoncic: We expect from IC to put pressure on Dodik and Covic so that issue of illegal migrants is no longer issue for Bosniaks solely (Face TV)
Sattler: Burden of migrant crisis should be borne by all in B&H (Hayat)
PCR tests done in B&H not recognized in the EU (BHT1)
Turkovic: B&H CoM to discuss travel restrictions for neighboring countries in July, Slovenia’s restrictions for B&H citizens are confusing (Glas Srpske)
B&H sees surge in new coronavirus infections, with 93 cases recorded in a day (N1)
Croatia

Croatia tightens border controls with B&H and Serbia (Hina/Jutarnji list)
Bozinovic: Most of new cases of Coronavirus were imported (HRT1)
Croatian President begins two-week foreign tour on Monday (Hina)
Croatia reports 19 new Covid-19 cases, a total of 2,336 (N1)
Montenegro

Djukanovic: There’s no compromise with nationalists (CDM)
Parliamentary and local elections scheduled for 30 August, decided Djukanovic (CDM)
Coronavirus in Montenegro on the rise (CDM)
Erakovic: The situation will get worse if we don’t accept the fact that the virus is there (CDM)
Republic of North Macedonia

State of emergency expires in North Macedonia, election campaign to be launched Wednesday (MIA)
Zaev: DUI going into opposition after 17 years is healthy for country (MIA)
In North Macedonia 90 new cases of Covid-19, 48 recovered, 9 people died (Libertas)
Albania

Tirana International Airport resumes all flights; sea borders also reopen (Tirana Times)
Montenegro is closing its land border with Albania due to the upward trend of infected (Radio Tirana)
In Albania 33 new COVID-19 cases (Tirana Times)

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

Serbia holds parliamentary elections amidst COVID-19 risk (Xinhua)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

RIK: 62.73 percent of the electorate processed, 3 lists passed the threshold (Tanjug/B92/RTS)

 

Preliminary results show that the Serbian Progressive Party won 61.39 percent of the votes, the SPS-JS coalition 10.39 and SPAS – Serbian Patriotic Alliance, Aleksandar Sapic – 3.71 percent of the votes, the Republic Election Commission (RIK) told Tanjug. The RIK inspected more than 69.54 percent of polling stations by 10:15 am today, which presents 62.73 percent of the electorate. The first three lists, which were the only ones to pass the census, are followed by the Movement for the Renewal of the Kingdom of Serbia with 2.68 percent, the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians with 2.48 percent and the Sovereignists with 2.24 percent of the vote.

According to the RIK data, the Broom 2020 movement won 2.16 percent, Serbian Radical Party 2.08 percent of the votes, and the other lists won below two percent of the votes. The republican parliament includes three lists that have passed the threshold and the parties of national minorities, and according to preliminary projections, SNS will have 189 deputies, the SPS-JS coalition 32 deputies, and the SPAS list 12 deputies.

Final results of the elections will be announced no later than Thursday at 8 pm.

 

Votes from Kosovo and Metohija delivered to Vranje (RTS)

 

According to the instructions of the RIK, voting material from Kosovo and Metohija, from Kosovo Pomoravlje, was delivered to Vranje one hour after midnight, with the escort of the OSCE and members of election boards. Votes from 70 polling stations will be counted in an elementary a school in Vranje. The novelty is that during the determining of the voting results in Raska and Vranje members of the working body will also be present. The RIK will announce the results in the course of the day.

 

Ipsos, CeSID: 93.2% of the votes processed: A convincing victory of SNS (B92)

 

According to the latest results of Ipsos and CeSID, only three electoral lists will enter the Serbian parliament. Turnout: 47.7 percent. The results of Ipsos and CeSID, based on 92.8 percent of the processed sample, show that three lists currently exceed the census: SNS: 62.6 percent, SPS-JS: 10.9 percent, SPAS – Serbian Patriotic Alliance: 4.2 percent. The closest to crossing the electoral threshold is POKS – Movement for the restoration of the Kingdom of Serbia with 2.7 percent. Below the threshold are: Sovereignists 2.6 percent, Metla: 2.4 percent, SVM: 2.3 percent, SRS: 2 percent, PSG: 1.8 percent, Zavetnici: 1.5 percent, UDS: 1 percent, Zdravo da pobedi: 1 percent, SPP: 0.9 percent, ADA: 0.9 percent, 1 of 5 million: 0.7 percent, SDA 0.6 percent, and LDP 0.3 percent. According to these results, the SNS would have 189 deputies in the parliament, SPS-JS 32, SPAS 12. According to these results, four minority parties would also pass the census. Of the minority parties, the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians potentially won nine seats, the Albanian Democratic Alternative three, the Justice and Reconciliation Party three, and the SDA two.

 

Vucic declares victory; “More than two million votes” (B92)

 

Serbian President and the leader of the SNS Aleksandar Vucic addressed the party’s election headquarters for the first time tonight. “I have been in politics for a long time, but I have never experienced a moment like this. Tonight I gained great trust from the people in conditions when few believed. We received a great warning from the people that we must be even more responsible, careful and diligent.” “We received more than two million votes out of a little less than 3.3 million, which is absolutely unprecedented,” Vucic said, and those present applauded, shouting “Serbia”. Vucic stated that the SNS won 63.4 percent, and that 64 percent is expected with votes from abroad and Kosovo and Metohija. He said that SNS gained victory everywhere. “We failed in Moscow, but that’s why 95 percent of the votes for the SNS were in Sochi. The only thing we can’t tell you, and what some other people will do tomorrow, is waiting for the OSCE to count the votes in Kosovo and Metohija, and there also, we had a record turnout.” He said that they lied to our people that there would not be a large turnout in Kosovo and Metohija in the elections. “I am grateful to the people for their responsibility and for understanding that the future of Serbia is important to each of us and we will protect our health. I want to thank our pensioners and all other people who, despite all possible threats and fabrications, had enough courage to tell them what they think about the future of Serbia. They thought through the campaign that I was not telling the truth. You know, we had daily research. They showed that the more they were in public, the more they fell. As he said, the SNS talked more about plans and ideas, and the people recognized that. Vucic thanked for the most fair and clean campaign so far. You get this trust of the people in important moments, for great work and results, Vucic pointed out. “This does not mean that the people are satisfied with us, but that they understand what responsibility it means in the future and that we need to change. We will be even better than before.” He said he would not talk about opponents. He also announced taking people from lists that did not pass the census.

 

Dacic: Absolute winner are SNS and Vucic; we are vice champions (Nova)

 

“The absolute winner are the SNS and Vucic. We are the vice champions. We are playing the league of champions unlike some whom it wasn’t enough even the lowering of the three percent census,” said the leader of SPS and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. He pointed out that the goal was fulfilled for his party to win more votes than in the past.  He said that his party won more than 11 percent of votes and that  they would have at least 30 MPs, so, based on this, they would surpass the pre-elections results from the past. He claimed that the opposition boycott has failed and that all other parties, except SPS and SNS “have disappeared”. “We are ready to continue cooperation through a coalition with SNS, if this is the interest of the state and if Vucic should want this”, Dacic said. While saying goodbye to the reporters with the claim that he improved his election result and thus there was no reason to resign as he announced at the eve of the elections, Dacic emphasized: “See you again in two years”.

 

Sapic: We have made an extraordinary result (RTS)

 

The leader of SPAS party, the president of Novi Beograd municipality Aleksandar Sapic said on Sunday evening that the weak turnout in Belgrade prevented him to win the second place in the elections, ahead of SPS. “If the turnout in Belgrade was like in the rest of Serbia, we would won another 2-3 percent of votes, SPS would win similarly less and we would be ranked second”, Sapic said. He did not discard a possibility to take part in some future coalition government, and it was completely sure that he would not be able to refuse such offer, having in mind the indirect support he received so far from the SNS authorities.

Pastor: Historical success (RTS)

 

The Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (SVM) is one of the victors of Sunday’s elections, SVM leader Istvan Pastor told a press conference. According to their preliminary results, this party won around 2.3 percent of votes, this is 9 MP seats, which is a historical result that didn’t happen 27 years. At the provincial level, SVM will most probably be the second party where they expect 15 mandates. They will wait for the stand of the SNS regarding possible coalitions at all levels with the SNS, for which they are ready.

 

Reactions of heads of election lists to election results (RTS)

 

The leader of the Movement of Free Citizens Sergelj Trifunovic has stated that this movement, regardless of the fact that they haven’t crossed census and entered the parliament, will continue to fight in order to cure the sick society in our country, stressing they do not remorse for taking part in elections instead of boycotting. Trifunovic noted that even if they had received eight percent and entered the parliament with 18 MPs he would have told everyone they have nothing to celebrate, just like now. The leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) Milos Jovanovic has stated that the list Metla (Broom) that he heads, is patiently waiting for results, but that there us some kind of disagreement between what they heard from the TV and the results that are reaching them. “We will wait patiently, and see the final results, if necessary we will ask to have insight,” said Jovanovic at his first address after the closure of polling stations. The first on the list of the United Democratic Serbia Marko Djurisic has stated that their list hasn’t managed to achieve a good result and said they will continue to advocated values they promoted, and this is a modern European civic Serbia.

 

Djilas: Boycott successful, government won’t have legitimacy (Beta)

 

Dragan Djilas, chairperson of the opposition Alliance for Serbia (SzS), said late on 21 June that, according to the latest figures and projections the coalition had obtained, the turnout at the elections in Serbia was under 42 percent, and under 36 percent in Belgrade. Djilas told a news conference after polling stations were closed that this meant that “Serbia has said a clear no to Aleksandar Vucic,” declared the election boycott successful and said the resulting government would have no legitimacy. “The boycott has served its purpose. We have received reports of threats, of certain people voting multiple times… It has all been documented officially in over five percent of polling stations. In the last three hours it was a free-for-all, when the regime began to panic, so there was growth (in turnout) of five percent per hour, while polling stations stood completely empty,” Djilas said. He said this was the election “with the lowest turnout in the history of contemporary Serbia,” and that there were “only two ways out” of what he termed the current crisis. “The first is deepening of the crisis, greater aggression, increased tension. That won’t be good for anyone. The other is building clear mechanisms, liberating the media, freeing the people… Preparations for a free election,” Djilas said.

 

Jovanovic: Mass boycott in Belgrade, turnout some 35 pct (N1)

 

Belgrade opposition official from the Alliance for Serbia (SzS) which boycotted the Sunday’s elections at all levels, Nikola Jovanovic, told N1 that the boycott in the capital was massive and that the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) led City’s authorities lost legitimacy. Jovanovic said he believed that not more than 42 percent of people voted in Serbia, while in Belgrade the turnout was some 35 percent. According to him, people’s message was that they “do not want to be like Belarus and that the system must change.” Jovanovic said his People’s Party would discuss with other SzS members the next steps in their political activities.

 

Cajetina municipality remains opposition-held after Sunday’s vote (Beta)

 

The coalition of Zdrava Srbija (Healthy Serbia), Democratic Party of Serbia and United Pensioners’ Party won 61 percent of those who voted at local elections in Serbia’s western town of Cajetina, Beta reported. SNS, which overwhelmingly won the elections at the national level, won 26 percent of votes, Milan Stamatovic, the Healthy Serbia leader said. In the last elections in 2016, Cajetina was one of six towns and municipalities in Serbia where SNS was not in power.

 

Elections in Belgrade: Changes in several municipalities (Novosti/B92)

 

According to the first preliminary results, the SNS won the largest number of votes on the municipal elections in Belgrade yesterday. Out of 17 local self-governments, the SNS won the largest number of votes in 16 municipalities. Until late in the morning, the votes were counted in New Belgrade, where the SNS and Sapic’s SPAS are fighting for the leading position. Unofficial data say that the turnout in the capital was significantly lower than the overall turnout in the country – about 35 percent. Unlike the previous year, when the SNS was in second place in terms of votes won in the municipalities of Stari grad, Vracar and New Belgrade, this time they were convincing with more than 45 percent of the votes won. They were also more successful than the competitors in Palilula, Zemun, Cukarica, Rakovica, Obrenovac, Mladenovac, Grocka and Vozdovac. The same result was recorded in Sopot, Barajevo, Lazarevac, Zvezdara, Savski Venac and Surcin. In addition to taking the largest number of board seats in most municipalities, the Progressives also achieved better success compared to the previous local elections held in 2016. In almost all local governments, SNS won more than 50 percent of the total number of votes. In Obrenovac, the SNS won about 20 percent more votes than in the previous elections, when the percentage was 48.4. This municipality now had as much as 72 percent of the electorate on the side of the ruling party. They also improved their results in Cukarica, where they won about 59.58 percent of the votes, which is also 20 percent more than four years ago. Until yesterday, the opposition Stari Grad voted in the majority for the SNS, i.e. 44 percent, while the coalition around the united opposition received 16 percent of the votes. SPS won 10 percent here, and SPAS 8.58. In Cukarica, councilors gathered around Aleksandar Sapic will enter the local assembly, with 10.44 percent of votes, as well as the SPS, which won about 10 percent. Although there were 12 options on the list in Zemun, and 11 in Zvezdara, SNS won a convincing victory in both municipalities. Although in most municipalities those gathered around Ivica Dacic and his SPS took second place, in none of the local self-governments did they manage to take more than 20 percent of the total number of those who went to the polls. On the other hand, in almost all municipalities where he ran, Aleksandar Sapic and his party SPAS won over 10 percent. Serbian Radical Party will enter mainly the suburban municipal councils, such as Barajevo, Mladenovac and Sopot. The coalition gathered around the leaders of the Social Democratic Party, the New Party and the Movement of Free Citizens won only 10.49 percent of the votes in Vracar.

 

Gratitude to Mexico for its principled position on Kosovo issue (Tanjug)

 

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and Ambassador of Mexico to Serbia Marco Antonio Garcia Blanco signed on Saturday the Agreement on Educational, Cultural and Sports Cooperation and the Memorandum of Understanding on Diplomatic-Academic Cooperation between the two countries. The signing of the documents, which will contribute to further rapprochement and cooperation between the two countries, was preceded by a meeting with the Ambassador of the United States of Mexico, who will soon end his term in Belgrade.

Dacic congratulated on the election of Mexico as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2021-2022, expressing the expectation that the cooperation between the two countries within international organizations, as before, will be very good. He underlined Mexico’s consistency with respect for the fundamental principles of international law, and reiterated his sincere gratitude for supporting Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Blanco expressed gratitude to his interlocutor for the exceptional cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, emphasizing, among other things, the stronger political, economic and consular cooperation between the two countries in recent years.

 

Another 96 cases (RTS)

 

Until 3pm there have another 96 cases, in total 12,990 infected. There has been one more death, in total 262 deaths. The number of active cases is 731. There are 19 patients on respirators.

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

Dodik and Cubrilovic say strong Serbia is guarantee of existence and survival of RS (ATV)

 

Citizens in the Republika Srpska (RS) and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FB&H) who possess dual citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) and Serbia voted in the Serbian parliamentary elections on Sunday. Polling stations were opened in several cities of the RS and the FB&H, including Banja Luka, Sarajevo and Mostar. Citizens in the RS who exercised the right to vote in the Serbian elections included RS officials who possess Serbian citizenship.

Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik and RS parliament speaker Nedeljko Cubrilovic voted at a polling station in Banja Luka, which was opened in the premises of the Consulate General of Serbia. Dodik and Cubrilovic stated that strong Serbia is guarantee of existence and survival of the RS. “I want Serbia on this day to get stable political authorities, authorities that will enable national and state gathering around solving certain serious issues, such as the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, as well as ensuring continuation of development and strengthening of Serbia in the economic and every other sense. Serbia is a significant guarantee of stability in the region, the most important country of the Balkan Peninsula, a country that generates and produces peace in the region,” Dodik underlined. Cubrilovic stressed that relations between the RS and Serbia are at an enviable level. “The state of Serbia stands behind the RS, stands behind B&H and B&H as a state can benefit from stable authorities in Serbia and from prosperous Serbia. I hope the new authorities in Serbia that will be formed after these elections will be inclined to B&H and the RS and that good neighborly relations will continue to go upward,” Cubrilovic said. After the voting, Dodik said that he is convinced that demands and requests of citizens of the RS will be solved soon, in the direction that Serbia will give citizenship to everyone who wants it bearing in mind that procedures applied so far were slow. Dodik emphasized that strong and stable Serbia is a guarantor of survival of the RS. Dodik added that there are no open issues between the RS and Serbia. Addressing media, Dodik said: “Muslims, Bosniaks have open issues with Serbia. We do not have that. The RS has no open issues with Serbia. We will give contribution to solving of this problem because it is necessary bearing in mind the character and the process of joining the EU if it gets intensified in the upcoming years”.

Izetbegovic: Elections will take place in autumn (Glas Srpske)

 

SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic stated in Sarajevo on Friday that he believes that local elections will take place in autumn. He added: “Naturally, this will take place in organization of the current B&H Central Elections Commission (CEC). A competent court only can bring in question the current composition of the CEC and I do not think that there will be such ruling because there was no any violation of law.”

 

Prutina’s statement regarding possible further postponement of elections sparks reactions of RS officials (ATV)

 

President of the B&H Central Election Commission (CEC) Vanja Bjelica Prutina said that competent institutions in B&H should end the procedure regarding adoption of the budget of institutions of B&H for 2020 as soon as possible. She warned that in case of a deadlock, 15 November, i.e. the day of the elections, will also be called into question. The statement comes after the B&H Council of Ministers adopted on Thursday a draft law on the budget of institutions at the level of B&H for 2020, which includes funds necessary for organization of the elections. The Presidency and the parliament fo B&H are yet to confirm this document. SNSD reacted to her statement saying that the previous postponement of elections was illegitimate, especially since it was done by the illegitimately appointed B&H CEC members. SNSD’s MP in the B&H House of Representatives (HoR) Sanja Vulic reminded that adoption of the B&H budget was also postponed in 2012, however that the elections were held regularly at that time. She said that this illustrates that Bjelica Prutina does not have the needed experience for this post. She argued that Bjelica Prutina is blackmailing B&H under the influence of her mentors and that representatives from the RS know why she is doing such a thing. DNS leader Nenad Nesic condemned postponement of elections and said that every future postponement is breach of law and a criminal act. ATV reminded that SNSD leader and Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik previously said that funds for holding of the elections can be allocated from the temporary financing arrangement and that postponement of the elections only serves those who are not certain of what the results of the elections will be.

 

B&H politicians comment on SDA-HDZ B&H agreement regarding Mostar (Nezavisne novine)

 

Commenting on the SDA- HDZ B&H agreement on Mostar, SDP leader Nermin Niskic stated for the daily that if SDA and HDZ B&H “push through” such changes, SDP will call on citizens so that elections would be a referendum for citizens on Mostar they would like to have. He also stressed that B&H Election Law must be changed in order to implement the abovementioned agreement. SNSD delegate in the B&H House of Peoples Lazar Prodanovic stated that the agreement of SDA and HDZ B&H is positive news for B&H. He added that it is very important that political parties which represent Serbs and have their Boards in Mostar, to act a unified manner. As for the story about the referendum, Prodanovic stressed that this a part of the political statement because it is impossible to hold the referendum on the territory of a local community without a prior decision of the City Assembly. Our Party’s Damir Arnaut stated that the elections in Mostar are the result of the ECHR’s ruling and not of SDA-HDZ B&H agreement. SDA Vice President Denis Zvizdic stated earlier that citizens of Mostar have won the most based on this agreement.

 

Radoncic: Neither Izetbegovic nor Covic should take agreement on Mostar as personal success (Face TV)

 

The SBB B&H leader and former Minister of Security of B&H Fahrudin Radoncic, asked to comment on current political situation in B&H in light of his resignation as the Security Minister, said that he is glad SBB B&H was a part of patriotic and pro-Bosnian bloc and he believes he did a good job during the coronavirus pandemic but it was time for the two parties to go separate ways. He reminded that SBB B&H remains a part of the ruling coalition at the FB&H level, adding that SBB B&H and SDA have different principles at B&H level. He claims that his strategic success as the Security Minister was to have the Ministry working to compensate for numerous blockades in the Council of Ministers of B&H (B&H CoM) during the pandemic and the Ministry managed “impose itself as a factor for stabilization of circumstances”, which was commended by the majority of B&H political leaders. He revealed that upon the request of SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic, he met with SNSD leader Milorad Dodik in Banja Luka in an attempt to persuade Dodik to lower his demands regarding distribution of financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He stressed that he did not participate in talks over distribution of the IMF’s assistance but he was not left out of anything agreed regarding Mostar, mostly due to “arbitrative, authoritative and benevolent role” of Head of the EU Delegation to B&H Johann Sattler and US Ambassador to B&H Eric Nelson. He pointed out that almost entire SDA-HDZ B&H agreement on Mostar was based on a joint concept previously proposed by SDA and SBB B&H but he has no problem with Izetbegovic taking all the credit because it is more important to finally hold the elections in Mostar. Nevertheless, Radoncic underlined that neither Izetbegovic nor HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic should take the agreement as personal success because it was diplomatic success of Sattler and Nelson who persuaded Izetbegovic and Covic to negotiate and reach the agreement. He claims not to know if Sattler and Nelson were somehow blackmailing Izetbegovic and Covic or if some other method was used to exert pressure. He deems that Bosniaks remain well protected in the B&H CoM despite his resignation while the nomination of SDA candidate for the Minister of Security Selmo Cikotic is a good idea because Cikotic has experience in politics and is orientated towards NATO. He expressed expectations that Cikotic will be appointed as quickly as possible. Radoncic stated that SBB B&H will most likely not participate in the formation of the new FB&H Government because SDA, HDZ B&H and SD B&H can easily form the Government without SBB B&H. He dismissed allegations that he and SDP leader Nermin Niksic are secretly plotting to exclude SDA and form the FB&H Government with HDZ B&H, saying that he has no doubt SDA and HDZ B&H will agree on the formation of the FB&H Government but he ruled out possibility of SBB B&H forming the Government without SDA. He underlined that he sees no point in SBB B&H taking over responsibility and excluding an election winner from the formation of the authorities, thus repeating the mistake that SDA made by excluding SNSD from the ruling coalition after the 2014 general elections.

 

Dodik: Serbia has clear approach to Kosovo issue and UN Resolution 1244 will be rehabilitated (ATV)

 

Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik stated on Sunday that Serbia has a clear approach to the issue of Kosovo and that the UN Resolution 1244, the only one that exists for Kosovo, will be rehabilitated. Dodik said that this Resolution guarantees the territorial integrity of Serbia and Kosovo, and that it is still in force, as is the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) and many international acts. “That Resolution has not been abolished. That Resolution is in force, as the original DPA and many international acts are in force. I believe that the key issue is compliance with international acts. Therefore, Kosovo’s recognition was unilateral and outside international law,” Dodik said. Dodik emphasized that Serbia has changed its regional, political and geostrategic position and that it is no longer a place where an official of the US administration can walk in and take what he wants.

 

Cvijanovic: Lavrov knows situation very well and we are grateful to Russia which is dedicated to DPA (Glas Srpske)

 

RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic, asked about the talks of the RS delegation with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Belgrade on Thursday, said that these were good talks because the two of them are collocutors who understand the situation in B&H well. She added: “There is the highest level of cooperation with Serbia. Lavrov knows the situation very well and we are grateful to Russia which is dedicated to Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA). New connections in terms of economy are ahead of us.” Cvijanovic expects that Russia will help that revision of the history does not take place in the Balkans. As for possible change of the DPA, in terms of its 25th anniversary, Cvijanovic said: “During the last 25 years, Dayton was tortured in some way, it was changed, modified, the OHR was passing decisions. Also, it was some achievement and it is certainly being viewed this way not only in the US administration. However, in global relations one event replaces another and such things become a historic fact only. Now there is no initiative for such stories, but I am sure that domestic cuisines will create various documents, resolutions and declarations on this occasion.” Cvijanovic said that the time has come for change of the RS Constitution. She added that this problem should be viewed in a different way “because there were interventions of the OHR”. Cvijanovic argues that the RS Council of Peoples was never formed to be the second House but as an institution that should protect national interests of all peoples and Others. She added that this has lost sense and protection of the VNI is being launched for all sorts of things and she concluded: “This was made as a potential problem on purpose.”

 

Salkic: None will be able to erase Bosniaks in the RS and Serb representatives should understand this (Fena)

 

RS Vice President Ramiz Salkic stated that none will be able to erase Bosniaks in the RS and representatives of the Serb people should understand this. For this reason, he called for work on the change of the RS Constitution together. He added that this change should be made in a way that the decision of the B&H Constitutional Court is implemented essentially and not only formally. Salkic also noted: “The RS Council of Peoples and the House of Peoples in the entities should have the same competencies, just as the President and Vice Presidents of the entities. Banja Luka, as the future administrative center of the entity, must have prescribed quotas on representation of the constituent peoples in the City Assembly, as it is the case in Sarajevo for example.” Also, according to Salkic, the names of official languages in B&H should be included in the Constitution. As for the issue of the B&H flag, Salkic said that no matter how much Serbs, under the influence of Serb nationalistic policy, negate the B&H flag with lilies, they must be aware that they live in the country which was internationally recognized under the flag with the lilies.

 

Bijeljina City Assembly: SNSD takes over posts, SDS loses power after 30 years (FTV)

 

The Bijeljina City Assembly held a session on Friday. After 30 years of rule, SDS lost the power in Bijeljina and the coalition of SNSD and former member of SDS, leader of SDS Semberija and Mayor of Bijeljina Mico Micic brought removals. SNSD took over the post of Deputy Mayor – that was assumed by SDS – as well as the post of a Speaker of the Assembly of Bijeljina coming from PDP. Former speaker of the Assembly of Bijeljina Slavisa Markovic (PDP) said that he is glad to be removed because the current parliamentary majority is formed of 16 people who changed their political affiliation and therefore, the Assembly lost its legitimacy and legality as of today. According to unofficial information, Markovic also wants to join SNSD for a longer period of time as his party, i.e. five members of PDP are the only opposition to 26 councilors coming from the ruling parties. The new speaker of the Assembly of the Bijeljina City Aleksandar Djurdjevic expressed hope that citizens will feel benefits of this political deal.

 

Radoncic: We expect from IC to put pressure on Dodik and Covic so that issue of illegal migrants is no longer issue for Bosniaks solely (Face TV)

 

SBB B&H leader and former Minister of Security of B&H Fahrudin Radoncic, commenting on the migrant crisis, stated that he openly asked SNSD leader Milorad Dodik, as well as foreign ambassadors, why the international community is pressuring him as the Security Minister of B&H to accommodate 9,000 migrants in the areas populated by Bosniaks. According to Radoncic, he also openly refused to do this as he cannot put demands of Dodik or HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic above B&H’s interests. “Politics is not show business but what can be agreed and solved. We expect from the international community to put pressure on Dodik and Covic so that the issue of illegal migrants is no longer the issue for Bosniaks solely because this would be the most dangerous thing for our people. After enormous number of migrants is forced inside (B&H) and mixed with us, we will all be labeled terrorists and left in quarantine and complete isolation. Serbs and Croats will be allowed to go where they want and although it was not our choice, we Bosniaks will have to carry the responsibility when a terrorist fool we were unable to identify causes a mess in the Western Europe,” Radoncic stated. He pointed out that he warned interior ministers of six or seven EU countries that they are risking security of their countries by not helping identify migrants and they should not blame Bosniaks if terrorist attacks happen.

 

Sattler: Burden of migrant crisis should be borne by all in B&H (Hayat)

 

Hayat carries that Europe and the world are warning that B&H needs to adequately respond to the migrant crisis, adding that Europe closed its borders for migrants and left a relatively poor and complicated country to deal with this challenge on its own. Hayat recalled that the RS officials clearly stated that migrants cannot be accommodated on the territory of the RS, noting that the FB&H is carrying the burden of the migrant crisis on its own. Head of the EU Delegation (EUD) to B&H Johann Sattler told Hayat that the burden of the migrant crisis should be borne by all in B&H. “Migrations are an issue that we will inevitable be dealing with in the coming years. We saw that there is a possibility of dramatic increase. We did not see that dramatic increase in practice, but there is a possibility that numbers will change to a certain extent. What is important in B&H is to have numbers which you can still manage. There are two aspects of migrations – security and humanitarian – and both are equally strong. The EU is providing assistance in financing 90 percent of the expenses. We are helping B&H deal with the situation and what we expect is better management in terms of drafting strategies on how and where we want migrants to be accommodated, i.e. sharing of the burden. We cannot have a situation in which only three cantons of which one – Una-Sana Canton – is carrying eighty percent of the burden. Since last year, we have managed to open two new reception centers – Blazuj and Lipa, but that is not enough. It is too little for a country composed of two entities. There has to be an adequate response of all authority levels,” Ambassador Sattler underlined, urging politicians in B&H not to misuse migrants in the election campaign.

 

PCR tests done in B&H not recognized in the EU (BHT1)

 

B&H citizens are facing a challenge in terms of travelling and preparing the necessary documents for the crossing of borders due to the fact that the PCR tests done in B&H are not recognized as valid by the EU. Numerous citizens of B&H who live in Germany have traveled to B&H and are facing issues due to the changes regulations for the crossing of borders and the inability to do a PCR test that will be recognized in the EU. This means that B&H citizens need to be placed into 14-day quarantine after their arrival in one of the countries that declared it as risky.

 

Turkovic: B&H CoM to discuss travel restrictions for neighboring countries in July, Slovenia’s restrictions for B&H citizens are confusing (Glas Srpske)

 

B&H Foreign Affairs Minister Bisera Turkovic stated that when it comes to freedom of movement amid the coronavirus pandemic, B&H is not very flexible regarding the neighboring countries, and added that the situation might change after the Council of Ministers session which will take place in early July. She reminded that as of recently, B&H citizens are not allowed to enter Montenegro without a negative COVID-19 test. According to Turkovic, B&H might impose similar restrictions for Montenegrin citizens as well, but it will depend on epidemiological situation. Asked to comment the fact that B&H citizens can enter Slovenia only with a negative COVID-19 test from a lab located in the EU, Turkovic said that Slovenia’s decision not to accept tests carried out in B&H is confusing.

 

B&H sees surge in new coronavirus infections, with 93 cases recorded in a day (N1)

 

B&H recorded one of the largest daily increases in new coronavirus cases since the epidemic outbreak, with 60 new patients in the RS and 33 in the FB&H, the healthcare authorities confirmed on Monday. According to the official statistics, the country’s coronavirus total now stands at 3,519, with 2,270 Covid-19 patients who have recovered to date and 170 fatalities.

The FB&H healthcare authorities have performed 543 coronavirus tests over the last 24 hours and 33 new patients were recorded in Tuzla Canton (17), Sarajevo Canton (15) and Una-Sana Canton (1). So far, 1,594 patients were infected with the novel coronavirus in the region, with 996 of those who recovered and 46 deaths. As for the RS, its healthcare authorities have performed 376 lab tests in the last 24 hours and 60 new patients were reported in 19 towns across its territory. The total of 1,905 patients has been confirmed in RS with 1,258 of those who have recovered and 120 fatalities. The Brcko District has seen 20 confirmed Covid-19 patients, of which 16 recovered and four died.

 

Croatia tightens border controls with B&H and Serbia (Hina/Jutarnji list)

 

Croatian police have tightened controls on the borders with B&H and Serbia following new cases of coronavirus infection originating from the two countries, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Friday. Bozinovic, who heads the national coronavirus crisis management team, told Jutarnji list daily that tighter border controls had been imposed on Thursday. “Anyone wishing to enter Croatia must state their reason for travel and present a supporting document to that effect, for example, that it is in the economic interest of our country,” Bozinovic said. He noted that Croatia had never fully opened its borders to Serbia and B&H as it had to ten EU countries which have a good epidemiological situation. Jutarnji List said that in the last two days travelers from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina who wanted to enter Croatia without reason backed up by proper documentation had been turned back. Stricter border controls were imposed because most of the new coronavirus cases identified in Croatia in the last week were connected with the two countries. Bozinovic said that the situation in Croatia would not escalate because epidemiologists had traced most of the infected people and established the source of the infection.

Bozinovic: Most of new cases of Coronavirus were imported (HRT1)

 

In an interview for HRT, Head of the National Civil Protection Crisis HQ and Minister of Interior Davor Bozinovic talked about the epidemiologic situation in Croatia in regards to Coronavirus pandemic. Bozinovic said that the most of new case of COVID-19 in Croatia were imported, adding that it is necessary to emphasize that in order to preserve stable situation, citizens need to respect all measures and recommendations of competent institutions. He stated that good managing of the epidemiologic situation enabled Croatia to open, primarily for tourism. Bozinovic underlined that he is certain that competent authorities and bodies will manage to keep the epidemiologic situation under control during the tourist season. He added that they developed the system in the case of registration of the virus with tourists visiting Croatia. Vicevic reminded that Slovenia introduced measure of quarantine for citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) and Serbia who enter this country. Asked whether Croatian authorities are discussing introduction of similar measures, Bozinovic stated that Croatia opened completely its borders for only a dozen of the EU countries and only citizens of these countries can enter Croatia without proving purpose of their travel to Croatia. He underlined that thanks to more restrictive measures at Croatian borders, the number of entrances from B&H the in last week was reduced by some 40 percent.

 

Croatian President begins two-week foreign tour on Monday (Hina)

 

President Zoran Milanovic begins a two-week foreign tour on Monday, with Montenegro as his first stop, his office said. Milanovic will travel from Cavtat, southern Croatia to Tivat, Montenegro aboard the Croatian Navy vessel Omis. From there he will go to Cetinje to meet with his Montenegrin counterpart Milo Djukanovic for talks on bilateral relations, the situation in the region and the coronavirus pandemic. Milanovic will emphasize Croatia’s support to Montenegro in the process of its integration with the European Union. In the capital Podgorica, Milanovic is scheduled to meet with executives of about 15 Croatian companies operating in Montenegro. On Tuesday, the Croatian president is due to meet with Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and Parliament Speaker Ivan Brajovic. He will then return to the Bay of Boka Kotorska to meet with representatives of the Croatian community in the country.

 

Russia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Austria

After the official visit to Montenegro, Milanovic travels to Moscow for a traditional military parade marking Victory Day. The ceremony should have been held on May 9 but was postponed over the coronavirus pandemic. The parade is set for June 24, the 70th anniversary of the first one. A bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin is also scheduled. Croatia wants to have a good relationship with Russia and this is a symbolic gesture in that regard, the Croatian President’s Office said. After Moscow, the Croatian president will attend a meeting of the Brdo-Brijuni Process in Slovenia on 29 June, and at the start of July, he travels to Bulgaria for an official visit. On 7-8 July, he will be in Vienna for a trilateral meeting with the presidents of Austria and Slovenia, the main topic being the EU post-COVID-19. Early in September Milanovic will pay an official visit to Germany and in October he travels to Estonia for a meeting of the Three Seas Initiative. Many of these visits and meetings were arranged before the coronavirus outbreak. Although all the new dates have been confirmed, whether the meetings will take place will depend on the development of the COVID-19 situation, the President’s Office said.

 

Croatia reports 19 new Covid-19 cases, a total of 2,336 (N1)

 

Nineteen new cases of the coronavirus infection have been detected in Croatia in the last 24 hours, the national Covid-19 response team said. So far a total of 2,336 people have been infected with the virus. So far, 2,142 people have recovered of these, 834 were discharged from the hospital, and 1,314 people recovered at home. The total number of deaths is 107. So far, 72.746 people have been tested, of which 268 in the last 24 hours. There are 9 people in hospital. There are no (0) patients on the respirator.

 

Djukanovic: There’s no compromise with nationalists (CDM)

 

Montenegro’s President, Milo Djukanovic, was invited as guest at working lunch with ambassadors of EU states in Montenegro, organized by the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia, Veselko Grubisic. Ambassadors of EU states to Montenegro praised Montenegro’s results in challenging times of fight against coronavirus and expressed interest in economic recovery of the country as well as in creating environment for ordered and proactive investment ambiance. Croatian ambassador pointed out that he was honored to be a host and thanked everybody for the cooperation. He expressed his deep gratitude to Djukanovic and Montenegro for determination and high professionalism in fight against COVID-19, repatriation of Croatian nationals and stated that Montenegro knew how to appreciate help in a dignified way showing it “is a true friend and ally”. Grubisic said that Montenegro “can always count on the EU in the process of economic recovery, reminding that Croatia was very active as presiding state during the pandemic. Djukanovic thanked Grubisic for the initiative for organizing talks and for the great attention Croatia had devoted to the enlargement process. Djukanovic expressed gratitude to the EU and member states for vital support they had offered to Montenegro in the first phase of fight against coronavirus in which our country achieved great results and demonstrated functionality of institutions, competence of the healthcare system and high level of social responsibility. He acquainted ambassadors with activities and plans in the implementation of structural reforms and reinforcement of investment competitiveness. President confirmed that Europeanization was still the only way for the region, the essential interest of the region and the EU. Djukanovic discussed with ambassadors plans for the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Montenegro and pointed out that governing structure had always been ready for the dialogue with the opposition. President also touched on the current subject related to church-state relations and said that Montenegro would stick to the postulates of multi-ethnic civil society and that despite numerous political pressures, “there’s no compromise with nationalists and those who want to destroy achievements of this generation”. The Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Aivo Orav, expressed his satisfaction with the communication between friends, Montenegro and the EU.

 

Parliamentary and local elections scheduled for 30 August, decided Djukanovic (CDM)

 

President of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, has called the parliamentary and local elections for 30 August. Local elections will be held in Andrijevica, Budva, Gusinje, Kotor and Tivat.

“After having consultations with representatives of the parliamentary parties and coalitions on 16 June 2020, who responded to the President’s invitation regarding the date for parliamentary elections, today, in line with his competencies and deadlines prescribed by the Constitution of Montenegro, the Law on Election of Councilors and MPs, as well as the Law on Local Self-Government when it comes to elections at the local level, the President passed the Decision on the election of MPs, as well as the Decision on the election of councilors in the municipal assemblies of Andrijevica, Budva, Gusinje and Kotor,” Dukanovic’s office said in a statement.

The date for the election of councilors in the Tivat municipal assembly has been determined by the Decision on the amendments to the decision on the election of councilors in the Tivat municipal assembly.

 

Coronavirus in Montenegro on the rise (CDM)

 

After 119 samples were analyzed on Sunday, another three persons tested positive for the coronavirus. New cases are from Podgorica, Danilovgrad and Budva. Therefore, Montenegro currently records 38 active cases, the Institute for Public Health stated. “Beside the case from Danilovgrad, who was staying in Bosnia and Herzegovina and possibly caught the virus over that period of time, other cases were in close contact with the already infected people,” they noted.

 

Erakovic: The situation will get worse if we don’t accept the fact that the virus is there (CDM)

 

There are currently nine COVID-19 patients in hospitals; five in General Hospital in Berane, and 4 patients with more complex clinical picture are in the Clinical Center of Montenegro. “Three of them are in the Infectious clinic and one patient is on ventilator, in very bad condition, said Dr Jevto Erakovic, director of the Clinical Center. Patients in Berane Hospital are in stable condition. As far as current situation with coronavirus in Montenegro is concerned, Dr Erakovic warns that there’s still big number of contacts, much greater than it was in March and April, making the possibility of the spread of the infection even higher. “It is important that people understand that the virus is still strong, it’s dangerous. Crowds on the streets and in facilities should be reason enough to try to adhere to the measures that were in force in March and April” Dr Erakovic says. If we don’t accept the fact that the virus is there, the situation will get worse.

Asked to comment on public gatherings of several thousand people, Dr Erakovic says clearly:

“I can’t even think what might happen in Montenegro if we continue to defy recommendations. I except everyone to acknowledge the looming danger and understand that citizens’ health is more important than any other motive,” Dr Erakovic says.

Could development of the situation lead to reinstatement of restrictions?

“Some restrictions have already been imposed in Rozaje. We are monitoring every inch of the country. If we state that the situation is going towards great epidemic problem, we will of course be required to resort to more restrictive measures,” Dr Erakovic said. He concluded by saying that further development of the situation depended on us.

State of emergency expires in North Macedonia, election campaign to be launched Wednesday (MIA)

 

The 8-day state of emergency declared by President Stevo Pendarovski to ensure continual preparations for the 15 July elections expires on Monday. The last, fifth in a row, state of emergency was declared on 15 June after leader of the ruling SDSM Zoran Zaev and leader of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE Hristijan Mickoski reached an agreement to hold the early parliamentary elections on 15 July. Pendarovski said the decision to declare a state of emergency was made towards ensuring continual preparations for the elections, especially the enforcement of measures for protection of public health during the electoral process, in time of a COVID-19 pandemic. The 8-day state of emergency was to be used solely for the required election-related decisions and protocols, with a focus on the measures protecting public health. The early parliamentary election was initially to be held on 12 April but due to the coronavirus crisis and the first state of emergency declared in March, election-related activities were suspended by a government decree. Following several weeks of failed talks, consultations, as well as leaders’ meetings hosted by the President, the ruling party and the opposition finally reached an agreement for the election to be held on 15 July. According to the State Election Commission (SEC), 15 coalitions and parties with 1,598 candidates will take part in the election. The election campaign will be launched on Wednesday – 24 June. Heads of the MP candidates signed the Code for fair and democratic election and stressed their commitment to abide by COVID-19 protective measures to ensure public health safety. In line with SEC revised timetable, election silence begins at midnight on July 12 and the election campaign ends.

 

Zaev: DUI going into opposition after 17 years is healthy for country (MIA)

 

SDSM leader Zoran Zaev has again rejected DUI’s idea of ‘an Albanian Prime Minister’ as unacceptable, saying the national-populist concept would result in DUI’s loss and transfer into the opposition ranks. Zaev told a press conference on Monday that DUI going into opposition after 17 years is healthy for the country, but also for the party itself, because it can improve and reform. He said no one should accept ultimatums, especially not now, when a multiethnic coalition has been established for the first time on record, representing the strongest guarantee for the citizen concept. “What we see from DUI is just a national-populist concept and nothing else. I believe DUI will lose because of this, since we need to see citizens as candidates, equal, capable and committed people who have built their credibility, people who are committed to serve the citizens, people of integrity,” said Zaev. According to him, VMRO-DPMNE and DUI will stand together in opposition. “This narrative leads DUI into the opposition, this is healthy after 17 years in power, both for the state but also for the party, because it can improve and reform. This is our position but citizens will have their say at the elections,” noted Zaev. He recalled that SDSM is the founder of the “One Society for All” concept. “Everyone should be clear with the fact that SDSM and me are the founders of this concept. We have shown that we are not burdened by the people’s ethnic affiliation. There are good and bad people, capable and incapable, competent and incompetent. The current SDSM has vice-presidents, members of the central and executive board, ministers, MPs, directors from all ethnic communities. This is the beauty of multiethnic Macedonia,” said Zaev and added that he is the next PM-designate.

In North Macedonia 90 new cases of Covid-19, 48 recovered, 9 people died (Libertas)

 

The Ministry of Health of North Macedonia informs that 665 tests have been performed in the last 24 hours, and 90 new cases of Covid-19 have been registered in: Skopje-36, Kumanovo-2, Stip-8, Tetovo-4, Struga-10, Veles-2, Bitola-2, Ohrid-13, Gostivar-1, Krushevo-1, Kocani-2, Probistip-1, Sveti Nikole-2, Resen-6. Today, the Institute of Public Health registers 48 patients that recovered. Nine people has died, five from Skopje, two patients from Tetovo, one from Ohrid and one patient from Gostivar. The total number of cases diagnosed in our country since the beginning of the epidemic is 5.196, the number of recovered patients is 1.974, the death toll is 247 and currently the number of active cases in the country is 2.975.

Tirana International Airport resumes all flights; sea borders also reopen (Tirana Times)

 

Flights to / from the Tirana International Airport resumed on Monday, following months of suspension due to the coronavirus restrictions. However, operating flights will carry only EU citizens or residents with the exception of Albanian citizens who need to travel for health or business-related reasons, as the travel ban is expected to be lifted on July 1 for the Schengen area. As of Monday, maritime transport in the ports of Saranda, Vlora and Durres will become available for all citizens who carry an Italian or Greek citizenship or residence permit.

Citizens who do not carry an Italian or Greek citizenship nor a residence permit are still unable to use maritime transport, after the European Commission announced that travel restrictions for the Schengen area may be lifted on 1 July. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy announced earlier that information on possible travel restrictions in other countries will be the responsibility of international passenger maritime transport companies, which should take the necessary steps and inform all passengers. Maritime transport for the people came to a halt on 9 March, following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Albania. Nevertheless, the transport of goods by sea carried on throughout the entire time, with the port of Durres seeing the highest amount of inflow in goods.

 

Montenegro is closing its land border with Albania due to the upward trend of infected (Radio Tirana)

 

Montenegro has decided to close its land border with Albania on Sunday following an increase in the number of infected people in recent weeks. The news is confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Montenegrin side allows only the transit to enter, but on the condition that the person crossing the border has made the NAAT tests in the last 48 hours and is negative.

“Given the growing number of active infected citizens in our country, which currently exceeds 700 (a limit previously set by Montenegrin authorities and exceeds 25 infected per 100,000 inhabitants), Montenegrin authorities have decided to close land borders with Albania and allow the entry of transit into Montenegrin territory only for citizens who present at the border the negative test document against COVID-19, made within 48 hours ”says the Albanian Foreign Ministry. The closure of the border starts at midnight on Sunday, 21 June 2020, and is valid until a second decision of the Crisis Operational Unit in Podgorica. Passengers who have an essential function / need are excluded from this restriction, such as: health professionals, medical researchers; personnel engaged in the transport of goods and any other transport personnel; diplomats, staff of international organizations, military personnel and humanitarian aid workers in the exercise of their functions; Special categories of passengers in transit; Persons in need of international protection in Montenegro, or for other humanitarian reasons.

In Albania 33 new COVID-19 cases (Tirana Times)

 

Thirty-three new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infected patients to 1.995 in Albania. This marks a significant drop in the number of cases compared to the past few days, as 71 new cases were identified only on Sunday. So far, tests have been conducted on more than 23,500 people. A total of 82 patients are being treated at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, ten of whom are in intensive care and one is intubated.

However, a total of 1159 patients who tested positive for the coronavirus in Albania have recovered. The death toll remains at 44 victims. Currently there are 792 active cases in Albania, 366 of which are in Tirana. Last week, Prime Minister Edi Rama warned that violators of restrictive measures and social distancing, especially as regards businesses, may face fines or prison time, depending on the degree of violation. He emphasized that gatherings and protests are strictly forbidden as long as the coronavirus is still at large.

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

 

Serbia holds parliamentary elections amidst COVID-19 risk (Xinhua, 22 June 2020)

 

Serbians started casting ballots on Sunday in the first national elections in the European continent since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the ruling Progressives and Socialists as the only party targeting double-digit results. Regular parliamentary elections in Serbia, along with provincial elections in Vojvodina Province and local elections opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m. Members of election committees across 8,253 polling stations are obliged to wear masks and gloves in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, while voters are free to choose whether to use prevention or not. Although the country has been daily confirming almost 100 new COVID-19 patients, health authorities assured Saturday that there is no reason to worry that the election process could complicate the epidemiological situation, advising voters to keep one-meter distance and spend less than 15 minutes inside the polling station. Political parties and other entities submitted 21 lists which will compete to pass the 3 percent threshold, fill 250 MP seats and propose a new prime minister and government.

Most opinion polls agree that the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) led by the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic with nearly 60 percent support, and their ruling coalition partner Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) of Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic with over 12 percent support are looking to surpass their results from the 2016 elections. The SNS-SPS coalition has been in power in Serbia since 2012, pursuing membership in the European Union (EU). In total, 6,584,376 people are eligible to vote at the 12th parliamentary elections since the establishment of the multi-party system in Serbia, which were previously scheduled for April 26 but were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides 3,341 domestic observers, the election process is monitored by 111 international observers, including the eight-strong mission of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and six-strong mission of the European Network of Election Monitoring Organization (ENEMO). Serbia’s Republic Electoral Commission (RIK) is obliged to deliver final results within 96 hours once voting ends, while preliminary results will be published hours after polling stations close.

 

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