European Western Balkans

EP forwarded draft document on electoral conditions to Inter-Party Dialogue participants in Serbia

Vladimir Bilčik, Tanja Fajon, Knut Fleckenstein and Parliament Speaker Maja Gojković following the 2019 IPD; Photo: EU Delegation to Serbia

BRUSSELS – The European Parliament members’ drafted a document on election conditions in Serbia that suggested equal access to media for all participants, balanced reporting and the integrity of the entire process as the main issues the authorities and opposition should agree on.

After three meetings of the mediators from EP and the President of the National Assembly Ivica Dačić, the adopted a document focused on two areas – an equal media representation and integrity of the election process. According to our sources, the document presented on Friday meeting with Dačić, but suffered some changes.

When it comes to equal media representation, the document said that the media in Serbia should report on the political programs of all parties in an adequate manner, and the media is requested to publish tariffs for political advertising, the public broadcaster to provide equal condition and representation to all political options.

In order to achieve equal media representation, the document proposed creating new binding regulations for the public broadcasters, as well as forming a temporary supervisory body that would consist of members of REM and representatives proposed by dialogue co-facilitators. According to our sources, in the original document, it is explicitly stated that representatives of civil society should be entered in this body, but after meeting with Dačić this is changed.

The supervisory body would have the task to develop a rulebook and control its implementation. This rulebook should be prepared 30 days after the agreement by the participants in the Inter-party Dialogue, and preparing separate recommendations for private broadcasters can be considered.

When it comes to the integrity of the election process, in the drafted document, special attention is paid to the work of the Republic Election Commission (RIK). The document points out that due to the boycott of previous elections by the opposition, finding the appropriate solution to temporarily change the composition of the RIK, in order to increase confidence in the election process.

Thus, the EP proposes that additional temporary members of RIK are appointed during the next election campaign not representative of parliamentary groups in the National Assembly, which would determine the Inter-Party Dialogue.

The document said that it should be ensured that the responsible institutions have effective procedures and measures to prevent, and if necessary, a fundamental investigation, on pressure on voters, including employees in state institutions or institutions and companies linked with the state.

“In that context, the competent authorities should provide complete protection with potential alerts, as provided for in relevant law”, the document said.

The draft document emphasizes that the Agreement on the election conditions can be achieved if there is a political will, adding that EP is prepared to help. However, that the ultimate outcome of the process depends on the participants of the dialogue themselves.

The document was forwarded to the representatives of the opposition who participate in the dialogue, and the deadline for comments and the statements of the opposition is September 12. The next dialogue round should be held on 17 and 18 September.

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