Serbia Against Violence calls EU to help improve election conditions

NEWS 08.03.202421:54 0 komentara
REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo

The Serbia Against Violence (SPN) coalition called the European Commission to urgently intensify its engagement on improving electoral conditions in Serbia ahead of the coming local elections in Belgrade.

“We have serious doubts that the Government of Serbia is genuinely willing to make any meaningful improvements and urgently implement key provisions of the European Parliament resolution on the situation in Serbia following the elections and the ODIHR 2023 Electoral Observation Mission Final Report,” the SPN said in its letter to the European Commission president.

The SPN said the Serbian government is deliberately shortening the time to implement ODIHR recommendations by planning to hold the vote for the Belgrade City Assembly in April even though they can take place early in June under the law. It added that the Government’s Working Group on the implementation of the ODIHR recommendations consists only of state administration officials.

The SPN said that the European Commission should ensure that the Government Working Group is fully inclusive, with civil society, EU, opposition representatives before giving it political support.

It said a review of the voter registry should be the priority and urged the EU to launch an independent expert investigation to inspect the electronic voter database, check who accessed it and when to change data, supervise the registry for the coming elections and publish some data in line with data protection standards.

“We also believe that the European Commission should send an expert mission to Serbia … to assess and address the systemic rule of law issues in Serbia,” it said.

The SPN said that urgent action is needed prior to the fresh Belgrade elections to regulate electronic media, including the dismissal of the members of the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media (REM) and appointment of new members, appointment of a new CEO and board of the Serbian state TV (RTS) and securing proportional reporting on all parliamentary parties.

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