Transparency Serbia has said that the change in the electoral threshold just four months before the elections, “is undoubtedly coming from the authorities in power”, and it clearly shows that the so-called “respect for democratic principles” is just an excuse not to address a number of essential issues.
Although the lowering of the election threshold to 3% cannot, in itself, have harmful consequences, “the idea of changing the law now can have harmful consequences”, because it will take weeks for the public debate on the issue to be conducted.
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Transparency Serbia also says that electoral threshold has not been a serious problem for Serbian democracy for 20 years, adding that instead of paying the utmost attention to addressing important issues such as uneven media coverage of election candidates, conducting a functional election campaign and insufficient transparency and control over funding, the authorities are now dealing with a less relevant issue.
According to Transparency Serbia, in recent months, government officials have refused to discuss the improvement of all rules relating to elections, “presumably not wanting to violate an unwritten rule that election conditions should not change in the election year”. As pointed out, they avoided talking about changes to the rules to determine the amount and allocation of funds for campaign funding, prosecution of voter corruption and illegal party funding.
Also, several months of discussions about restrictions on the activities of state bodies during the election campaign to prevent abuse of power resulted in minimal changes in four laws.
“These changes are not sufficient to substantially improve the electoral environment, do not solve the problems previously identified by the state authorities in Serbia and do not meet the recommendations received by OSCE / ODIHR after the previous elections,” Transparency Serbia concludes.
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