As the second day of the referendum on the constitution continues, CeSID is reporting turnout at 33.1% at 2 PM. The comparative figures may be more interesting, since they show the highest turnout in Kosovo (unsurprisingly, since the huge gap between the number of residents and the number of registered voters generally produces distorted election results) and in Belgrade (also unsurprisingly, since the proposed text continues the centralization of resources and political power in Belgrade). Unless there is unusually high turnout in the last hours of the afternoon and early evening, this makes it look likely that turnout will not reach the 50% + 1 threshold. If this turns out to be the case, it might be understood as supporting the following theses:
1. Serbia does indeed new a new constitution, but citizens are not so excited about about approving one that was prepared in a hurry and without a wide-ranging process of consultation.What happens in the event that the referendum does fail? First, this probably means that the government fails as well, which would force the calling of new elections. But this only changes the situation marginally, since the plan was for elections to be called anyway, probably in December. Second, the process of generating a new constitution has to continue. Law professor and former high judge Zoran Ivošević sees two ways in which this can be done: either renewed voting on the same text, or the calling of a constitutional convention. The second option is probably more promising than the first.
2. There is resistance to proposals which do not involve some decentralization of power.
3. The effort to cast a political question as a question of patriotism (with the famous clause on Kosovo) has not succeeded, and it is possible that the currency of patriotism has been overdrawn.
4. Types of consultation matter; some of the anti-referendum sentiment may derive from the fact that the text was designed to satisfy the leaders of the major political parties, not the citizens.
Views: Estavisti favors the referendum, read his reasons why. Serbian Mess does not, and also has reasons.
Image: Turnout by region at 5 PM on Sunday, according to CeSID.
Update: The Republic Electoral Commission (RIK) has bigger numbers than CeSID. They estimate that turnout at 6 PM is over 47%, and also announced that they have decided (suddenly?) that rather than closing polling places at 8 PM as planned, they would keep them open as long there are people near them. Meanwhile, CeSID is beginning to give information about irregularities in voting. Could a last-minute change in the rules turn out to be one of them?