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Helsinki Commission to Hold Briefing on the Future of Democracy in Serbia

WASHINGTON– Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), will hold a briefing:

The Future of Democracy in Serbia

Thursday, April 3 at 2:00 p.m.

2220 Rayburn House Office Building

The briefing will look at the political situation in Serbia at this critical time in the country’s history as well as the long-term

prospects for the country’s democratic institutions, including civic society. Panelists will report on their recent visits to the region

and the results of recently conducted public opinion polls indicating attitudes in Serbia regarding their political leaders and their country’s future direction.

Concern has been expressed about the direction Serbia is taking, especially since Kosovo’s February 17 declaration of independence that has been recognized by the United States and

many other countries.  In addition to the well-publicized, violent demonstrations in front of the U.S. and other foreign embassies in Belgrade on February 21, representatives of Serbia’s independent media, non-governmental organizations and western-oriented political parties have also faced harassment or intimidation.  Meanwhile, Serbia’s ruling coalition collapsed in early March, and new parliamentary elections will be held on May 11 and will give the people of Serbia a choice between those political leaders advocating nationalism and isolation and those advocating democracy and integration.

Participants in the briefing will include:
 
Ivana Howard, Program Officer, Central and Eastern Europe, National Endowment for Democracy
 
Robert Benjamin, Regional Director, Central and Eastern Europe Programs, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
 
Lindsay Lloyd, Regional Program Director, Europe, International Republican Institute
 
 

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