Serbia adopts new constitution in last-minute voter surge

[JURIST] Last-minute voter turnout pushed the proposed new Serbian constitution [DOC; text] over the required 50% margin for adoption late Sunday. The two-day referendum on the draft charter, which includes a controversial preamble asserting Serbia's ongoing claim to Kosovo, got off to a slow start [JURIST report] on Saturday, with only 17.81% of eligible voters casting ballots. Preliminary Sunday polls indicated that approval by 50% of registered voters was reached with just one hour left in the voting. The Serbian government [website, in Serbian] preliminarily reported a 53.5% turnout of registered voters, of which 51.46% voted "yes" [press release]. Official tallies are expected to be released late Sunday night. BBC News has more.

The final draft of the constitution was approved by Serbian parliament [JURIST report] earlier this month and will make Serbia an independent state for the first time since 1918. Serbian leaders have called it the "last line of defense of Kosovo," but EU and US diplomats have warned [JURIST report] that references to the province in the draft charter will not impact ongoing United Nations discussions over the region's future status.

 

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