Mladen Lukić, one of the members of Balkanika has stated that vote-buying occurred between juries at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Speaking on Jutro sa Jovanom i Srđanom on Prva Srpska Televizija, Mladen Lukić has stated that he saw votes being bought by different juries across the competing nations. The singer stated on the program that;
I saw vote-buying between delegations of very serious [Eurovision] countries. There is a man walking around and arranging things. It usually happens at the hotels. He’s walking around and of course not considering our country. They make trades with the jury votes. I was sitting next to the a delegation when a man arrived and they made deals with another country.
This is not the first time that allegations of vote-buying have been made at the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2013 it was reported that the delegation from Azerbaijan had bought SIM cards in numerous countries to increase their televote, but also approached a number of juries to vote for Azerbaijan. It was also reported in 2013 that the Azerbaijani delegation spent in excess of 30 Million USD on bribes to win the 2011 contest in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The European Broadcasting Union has released a statement to Eurovoix;
The EBU, as well as an external auditor, rigorously reviews all submissions for Jurors in close consultation with the broadcasters. All jurors sign an agreement with the EBU before taking part, confirming that they will remain impartial and cast their votes strictly on the performances in the shows that they adjudicate. There is also a procedure whereby random inspections take place at certain jury locations during the voting process each year.
Source: Prva Srpska Televizija
Serbia have competed as an independent nation in the Eurovision Song Contest since 2007, and have seen great success in the competition. Their first entry in 2007, Marija Šerifović’s “Molitva”, won the contest in Helsinki with 268 points, making Serbia’s debut one of the most successful in Eurovision history. From then up to their year’s break in 2014, Serbia finished in the top 10 a further two times, including a 3rd place finish in 2012 with Željko Joksimović’s “Nije ljubav stvar”. They have only failed to qualify for the final on three occasions, the most recent being in 2017 when Tijana Bogićević’s entry “In Too Deep” finished in 11th place in its semi-final in Kyiv.