On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the first multi-party elections, and less than a year and a half before the presidential elections, as well as the announced snap parliamentary elections, the Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA) presented a proposal of five key changes that have to take place for elections in Serbia to become, not only formally, but also effectively, democratic.
Democracy in Serbia is in the deepest institutional crisis in two decades after the 2020 parliamentary elections. The head of the Center’s observation mission, Rasa Nedeljkov, assessed that the government has so far selectively adopted the recommendations that, due to their scope, cannot solve the essential problems of the electoral process.
“CRTA believes that key changes must occur through greater equality of election participants and fairer media representation, ensuring freedom of choice, protection of voting rights, and professional election administration who would preserve the integrity of the electoral process,” said Nedeljkov.
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Also, election campaign participants must run from approximately equal positions, and to achieve this, the state has to ensure equality of participants in the nomination process, prevent abuses in campaign financing and misuse of public resources.
“Furthermore, equal representation in the media is necessary because voters must have the freedom, but also the opportunity to form an opinion about the participants in the election,” the statement added.
It is also necessary to consistently ensure non-discriminatory representation in the electronic media, public broadcasting services and commercial TV stations that use national frequency, in all programme segments, not only pre-election, as well as to ensure equal advertising, and clearly define the obligations of the Supervisory Body for Electronic Media (REM), introducing clear mechanisms to select and determine the responsibilities of the REM Council.
“For elections to be free, it is necessary to prevent pressure on voters and ensure their freedom of choice by first preventing pressure on employees of public companies and public administration, and ensure a more active role of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the electoral process. It is also necessary to ensure equal voting rights for all categories of voters and to update and verify the voter list.”
This post is also available in: Italiano