Analysis of the News: „Why is Berlin interfering in our election process“

Published on:

December 2023.

As part of the program Regional Initiative for combating disinformation “Western Balkans Combatting disinformation Center: Exposing malicious influences through fact-checking and Analytical Journalism“, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

Why is Berlin interfering in our election process

Parliamentary, provincial, and some local elections in Serbia were held on Sunday, December 17. Ten days after the end of the voting, the electoral process in Serbia has not yet ended due to the repetition of elections in a certain number of polling stations. Opposition parties organize daily protests due to election irregularities and alleged organized voter migrations that the government carried out to influence the election results in their favour, primarily in Belgrade.

The earlier traditional congratulations to the Serbian authorities were absent from the international community, and certain harsher criticisms of certain Western countries could also be heard. These events served the pro-regime media and part of the pro-Russian-oriented public to promote the narrative of Western pressure on Serbia and open interference of the West in Serbia’s election process.

The media close to the authorities systematically insisted on the narrative of (Western) foreign interference in the (post)election process in Serbia and their connection with the opposition protests in Belgrade, placing in the broader context and interpreting the statements of President Aleksandar Vučić. The President of Serbia rejected allegations of irregularities in the parliamentary and Belgrade elections, claiming that these were the cleanest elections so far.

Commenting on the reaction of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vučić pointed out that the state authorities will draw up a written statement regarding the influence of an important country in the elections in Serbia in the most brutal way so far, adding that “before Christmas, the whole world will be told to see how this kind of interference is carried out.” in processes that should belong to a sovereign country.” Other similar statements by party and state officials followed the statement of the President of Serbia and member of the SNS.

Among the texts that appeared on this topic in the pro-regime media, there is an illustrative analysis published in the daily newspaper Politika under the title “Why Berlin interferes in our election process.” The interlocutors emphasized, on the one hand, that the interference is manifested by “pressure … not to respect the results of the elections, but to deny the elections,” while, on the other hand, it is suggestively underlined that “this happens when the government in a country is not up to the standards of certain (Western) power centres.”

In the analyzed text, there are primarily manipulations of facts and the drawing of unfounded conclusions, spreading the previously existing narratives in a part of the public about the constant pressure of the West on Serbia.

For the European Western Balkans portal, the German state media service Deutsche Welle (DW) denied allegations of any involvement in the current post-election protests in Belgrade. For now, German representatives have not officially announced themselves regarding media and other officials’ allegations. At the same time, the reporter of the European Parliament for Serbia, Vladimir Bilčik, declares that the elections went smoothly even though the observers of the European Parliament had a completely different view.

However, it is essential to note that in reaction to the elections in Serbia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany relied exclusively on the preliminary report of the OSCE observer mission. Foreign observers from the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament were unanimous in their assessment, in their reports, of the problems that accompanied the pre-election process and election day in Serbia and what the opposition political parties also referred to. European Union officials also called for a transparent investigation into the irregularities.

Author: Sofija Popović