Five embassies in Belgrade urge Serbian govt to seek ODIHR assistance

NEWS 01.03.202418:58

The embassies of France, Germany, Italy, UK and US in Belgrade welcomed in a joint statement on Friday the fact that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has accepted for Serbia to implement the recommendations of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), noting they expect the Serbian government to seek ODIHR’s assistance so as to ensure the effective implementation of its recommendations before the coming elections.

“We welcome President Vucic’s pledge to implement ODIHR recommendations and therefore expect the government of Serbia to seek ODIHR’s assistance, with the support of other relevant institutions, for ensuring that these recommendations are implemented fully and effectively with meaningful progress made before elections this Spring,” reads the joint statement.

The ODIHR mission that observed the Serbian December 17 parliamentary elections published on Wednesday its final report in which it said that the election conditions were unjust due to the president’s involvement and the ruling party’s systemic advantages, but that the elections were technically well-administered. It also said that fundamental freedoms were generally respected in the campaign, but that it was marred by harsh rhetoric, bias in the media, pressure on public sector employees and misuse of public resources.

The ODIHR gave 25 recommendations to improve the electoral process.

The US State Department on Thursday urged Serbia to implement the ODIHR recommendations without delay, and welcomed the government of Serbia’s pledge to address the concerns raised in the ODIHR report.