Presidential elections costs

We can now affirm that the taxpayers money taken from the budget of the Republic of Serbia and allocated for the past unsuccessful presidential elections is practically thrown away, declared Mr. Bozidar Djelic, Finance minister in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, adding that a total of 570 million dinars were spent for both the election rounds.

The Republic Election Commission (REC) was first given 325 million dinars before the first election round, and then, on October 10th another 137.8 million dinars, while approximately 80 million still remain to be paid – without mentioning the 10 million given to each of the 11 presidential candidates campaigns. Within the following days, we expect the REC to provide us with a detailed report on all expenses. Altogether approximately 10 million Euros. We will have to spend another 10 million Euros for the next elections, and if we had not been so lazy, and had voted, we would have invested this money in new schools, kilometers of roads, or even 400 apartments of 60 square meters in Belgrade.

During the past school year (2001/02), the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia spent a little more than 12 million Euros on building 22 new school premises, reconstruction of 50 existing and the building of 18 new elementary and secondary schools in Serbia. The Belgrade Medakovic area finally got an elementary school, whose building – altogether with the building terrain obligations, the school equipment, labs and the physical education sports hall – it required 2.5 million Euros. Therefore, last Sunday we simply wasted four new schools. According to the newly published housing building projects within the Serbian Government program, the building of a 60 square meters apartment in Belgrade should cost 22.500 Euros, meaning that 10 million Euros, the cost of the future elections, would be enough to build 400 apartments in Belgrade.

According to the evaluations of the transport experts, the unplanned repetition of the presidential elections in Serbia will deprive the citizens of several kilometers of the new highway, or, in other terms, the reconstruction of 60 kilometers of the existing roads. According to the plans of the Serbian Ministry of Transport, 10 million Euros – the price of the new elections – would be enough to renovate 62.4 km of the M22 road or 50km on the E70 international highway, from the Croatian border to Belgrade. For example, the roughest works on the reconstruction of 19.3km of the Ibar road, from Ljig to the Stavica tunnel, some 7.1 million Euros will be spent. The Serbian Government action plan “50 cities – 50 streets”, provides for the allocation of 278 million dinars (4.6 million Euros) for paving with asphalt one kilometer of main streets in 50 cities – which means that an additional kilometer of streets could have been renovated with the money for the new campaigns.

If we invested 9.5 million Euros into the Serbian railways modernization, it would mean at least three new electric locomotives on our tracks, or at least 16 generally renovated wagons or another thirty kilometers of renovated and modernized tracks.

Serbian Public Health would also welcome a sum of 10 million Euros. It’s been quite a while that we haven’t seen a newly opened health care center. The Uzice hospital, in charge of some 500.000 people, has recently opened a 15 million dinars operating block. It is very simple to calculate the number of such operating blocks lost. On the other hand, the Serbian Clinical Center fully equipped six new operations rooms. Equipment that had not been renovated for the past 10-20 years was acquired: scanners, monitors, respirators, ECG’s, sterilizers, anesthesy equipment, even devices for a new kind of surgery – the laparoscopy. Intensive care ward was renovated with 28 new beds, the general internal intensive care with 14, surgery with 96 and neuro-surgery with 30 new beds. Altogether, it required approximately 15 million Euros, a third above what we “gambled away” last Sunday.