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26 November 2002

U.S. Encourages Serbs to Vote in December 8 Elections

(Nov. 22, Vienna: Amb. Minikes to OSCE Permanent Council) (300)
The United States encourages all Serb voters to exercise their right
to vote in the December 8 presidential elections, said Ambassador
Stephan M. Minikes, chief of the U.S. Mission to the OSCE.
In remarks to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna November 22,
Minikes also said the United States "is pleased that the Republic of
Serbia repealed the 50 percent voter turnout requirement for the
second round of presidential elections."
Following is his statement:
(begin transcript)
United States Mission to the OSCE
Vienna
November 22, 2002
STATEMENT ON SERBIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS  
As delivered by Ambassador Stephan M. Minikes to the Permanent Council
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Pursuant to Ambassador Milinkovic's intervention in the Permanent
Council two weeks ago, the United States is pleased that the Republic
of Serbia repealed the 50 percent voter turnout requirement for the
second round of presidential elections, as recommended by ODIHR.
Presidential elections will be held in Serbia on December 8th.
While the 50 percent turnout requirement has been eliminated in the
second round, it is still required for the first round.
It is important that the upcoming Serbian presidential elections
succeed, and we are concerned by reports that projected voter turnout
could fail to meet the 50 percent threshold.
Voting is indeed a great privilege, and everyone should be encouraged
to exercise it. Those who do not vote will not have their voices
heard. Margins by which candidates win reflect the support - or lack
thereof - for their proposed policies and positions.
Mr. Chairman, the United States encourages all citizens of Serbia to
exercise their right to vote in the December 8th presidential
elections. Moreover, we call on Serbia's elected leaders to actively
encourage voter participation, not only to ensure the validity of the
December 8th vote, but also to ensure an accurate reflection of public
sentiment.
Thank you.
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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