While a number of the opposition parties that took part in the inter-party negotiations on new election conditions mediated by members of the European Parliament are still pondering whether or not to participate in the next elections, the opposition parties that did not want foreign mediators in the talks, have signed an agreement with the Serbian government.
Representatives of seven opposition parties have signed an agreement on the improvement of electoral conditions and the government considers the agreed proposals ‘realistic, feasible and sustainable.
The document’s signatories from the opposition ranks have said that although ‘no one is completely satisfied with the agreement’, the first step towards democratic elections has been taken. It remains to be seen whether what has been agreed will be enough for the rest of the opposition to go to the polls. Here are some of the demands that have been turned down by the Serbian authorities.
All opposition parties have demanded that the dates for holding elections be separated, i.e. for the presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections in Belgrade to be held on separate dates. Some opposition representatives also called for extraordinary provincial and local elections before the end of 2022, providing that the time between these elections at different levels should not be less than two months.
The opposition representatives also agreed on the demand that only one candidate from the party can be the party’s nominee for the elections. The existing practice whereby the nominee actually takes no part in the election but their name is on the party’s electoral list only to draw in the voters fundamentally violates the principle of accountability of political representatives to the electorate.
A group of opposition politicians, together with MEPs, have called for the allocation of a national broadcasting frequency for digital TV media. As mentioned, the process of choosing a fifth broadcaster should be carried out before the next elections, in a timeframe that contributes to the improvement of the media scene by the 2022 elections.
One of the opposition’s demands referred to the formation of the so-called parallel newsroom at Radio-Television of Serbia (RTS) and Radio-Television of Vojvodina (RTV), and that these two TV stations, which are state-run, should appoint an independent programme editor who would be in charge of everything relating to elections – news, programmes and debates.
Furthermore, opposition representatives called for the appointment of commissioners to protect public sector employees (public administration, institutions and companies), who would prevent civil servants from being forced to vote for a certain political option, participate in a political party’s activities and election campaign or be an election candidate.
This post is also available in: Italiano