International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

TS: Serbia’s ruling & part of opposition deal on elections rules deficient

November 2, 2021

Transparency Serbia (TS) said on Tuesday the political agreement on election conditions between the two ruling and seven opposition parties, which rejected the European Parliament (EP) mediation, envisaged some measures that could increase the integrity of the election process and equality of the participants, but warned that many problems were not tackled or even remotely solved.

The TS added that „part of the agreement on calling early parliamentary elections and establishing a ‘control body’ is a violation of the Constitution and the law.“

It also said that „when it comes to financing the election campaign and preventing the misuse of public resources, the improvements are minimal.“

TS added that „not only are not all problems solved“, but that „there is no indication that measures will be taken to act on all recommendations that Serbia received from the ODIHR after the parliamentary elections in 2020 and 2016 and the presidential elections in 2017“.

It recalled that the proposed increase in budget funds, which would equally be divided by the participants in the elections (30 percent instead of 20 percent of the total amount), adding that „no additional rules are provided for classifying campaign expenses between several elections that will be held simultaneously.“

TS also said the publication of price lists for media advertising in the campaign was a useful novelty but added: „the rules about discounts, deferred payment and payment of advertisements through marketing agencies should be specified as well.“

„The new rules on the ban on media broadcasting of public officials’ activities (ceremonial opening of infrastructure facilities) are completely inadequate – instead of banning the media, the promotional activities of public officials in the campaign should be limited,“ TS said.

It added that such restrictions should apply to other officials as well, not just those on the electoral list, and that „they should certainly apply throughout the campaign, not just ten days before the election.“

„Regarding the rule of law, the main problem is that the inter-party agreement envisages obligations for state bodies, including the Government and the President of the Republic (allowing the President to dissolve the Parliament and call elections within a certain period),“ TS said.

It warned that such an agreement was a violation of the constitutional provision, according to which „political parties cannot directly exercise power, nor subordinate it to themselves.“

„Similarly, there is no legal basis for the inter-party agreement to envisage the formation of ‘a control body’ that should have powers concerning state bodies and holders of public authorities,“ the TS said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/ts-serbias-ruling-and-part-of-opposition-partiess-deal-on-election-rules-deficient/

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