Conclusion of the party dialogue in Serbia: Commitments need to be implemented

Vladimir Bilčik, Tanja Fajon, Knut Fleckenstein and Parliament Speaker Maja Gojković; Photo: EU Delegation to Serbia

BELGRADE – The European Parliament officials mediating the talks on election conditions in the Serbian parliament stated that the commitments need to be implemented in practice according to strict timetable. The final round of the first phase of the European Parliament facilitated Inter-Party Dialogue was held on 12 and 13 December in the National Assembly of Serbia, with the second phase expected after the parliamentary election.

The participants of the dialogue stressed that in full respect of the Constitution of Serbia, regular parliamentary election should be held as late as possible, at the end of April or the beginning of May, so that the conditions can be improved as much as possible.

The Alliance for Serbia, the biggest opposition coalition, is sticking to the boycott of the election, claiming that there is no sufficient time to implement the commitments of the dialogue. They have also boycotted the dialogue taking place in the National Assembly, holding meetings with the mediators individually.

The mediators, including former MEP Knut Fleckenstein, EP Rapporteur for Serbia Vladimir Bilčik and Chair of EP Delegation for Serbia Tanja Fajon, stated that there has been progress in the improvement of the work of the Republic Electoral Commission, but that turning commitments into concrete deliverables according to a strict timeline is still needed in the key areas.

One of those areas is improving the work of the Electronic Media Regulator (REM) by appointing new REM Members to be confirmed in a vote by the end of the year.

Creation of the Supervisory Board in the Parliament and assuring a transparent, timely and impartial work under its competence well before, implementation of the new amendments of the relevant laws for improving the electoral conditions in practice, were also underlined as key areas.

According to the press release, the Third Dialogue introduced a strict timeline for the implementation of each outstanding commitment.

“It is imperative that this timeline is respected and that all commitments are implemented in full before the election campaign in order for all stakeholders”, the statement reads.

Most opposition actors are not convinced that the government will implement the necessary reforms. In an interview for Macedonian news agency MIA opposition leader Dragan Đilas stated that Alliance for Serbia (SzS) demands an agreement with authorities in Serbia, such as Prižino agreement signed between the government and opposition of North Macedonia 2015.

Pržino agreement entailed the formation of a technical government 100 days before the elections and for the opposition guaranteed seats of the ministry of interior and ministry of the state administration, as well as deputy ministers in key state departments.

Đilas underlined that, after the signing of that agreement, North Macedonia has succeeded in creating a new electoral system that works and believes that Serbia cannot move forward without it.

He said that the SzS already decided to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections three months ago and would not back down from such a decision.