Serbia’s premier rejects report on democratic freedoms

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia’s prime minister has rejected an independent democratic freedom watchdog’s report that downgraded the Balkan country from “free” to “partly free.”

In its annual global report published earlier this week, Freedom House said Serbia’s status declined because of “the deterioration in the conduct of elections, continued attempts by the government and allied media outlets to undermine the independent journalists through legal harassment and smear campaigns.”

The report also says Serbian populist President Aleksandar Vucic has accumulated “executive powers that conflict with his constitutional role.”

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Vucic’s close ally, said Wednesday “I absolutely don’t think or feel that I live in a partly free country, but think that I live in a country that is freer than a few years ago.”

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