On Election Day they deployed 2,600 observers at 1,345 polling stations in 134 local electoral commissions, covering over 25% of the total number of polling stations. For the first time they used the SMS reporting with automated software for processing of the acquired data (on Election day they were sent and received over 19,000 text messages), and a comparison of the election results from a sample of polling stations compared to those published by the Central Election Commission (CEC) .
General assessment of the General elections in 2014 by the Coalition’s “Pod lupom” is that they are held in a democratic and fair atmosphere and in accordance with the Election Law and related rules and procedures, with a small number of detected irregularities and critical situations, and isolated incidents.
Electoral legislation of Bosnia and Herzegovina based on Annex III (Agreement on Elections) and Annex IV (Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina) to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in BiH and the BiH Election Law, and provides an adequate legal framework for the conduct of democratic elections. The election administration in BiH make the Election Commission (the Central Election Commission and local election commissions) and electoral committees. The Central Election Commission adopted a decision to call general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 15 May 2014. Elections were held on 12 October 2014. A total of 518 elected office holders. In the elections 98 certified political entities took part and 7,748 candidates. At the General elections of 2014 the right to vote had a total of 3,278,908 voters, and they voted in 5401 polling stations.
New general elections were held in a specific political context, which is reflected in the traffic jam on the way to the membership in the European Union, failure to implement the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of “Sejdić-Finci” was unacceptably slow process of government formation, i.e., the implementation of election results after the 2010 General elections, the instability of the parliamentary majority in almost all parts of the country, the disastrous consequences of floods in the month of May, and the dissatisfaction of the citizens expressed in numerous protests during the previous mandate.
The main findings of the pre-election observation time point to a serious violation of the provisions of the Election Law regulating the method of selection of members and the composition of committees that take the conscious manipulation of the electoral process by representatives of political entities. Also, there were dozens of cases of paid political advertising in the period before the official start of the election campaign, which is prohibited by law, which are mainly reflected in the promotion of the social networks, the distribution of promotional material and the organisation of promotional events in which they participated in only candidates of one political entity. The election campaign officially began on September 12, 2014 and lasted 30 days until the start of electoral silence. The main findings of the Coalition in this period indicate the cases of abuse of public funds by representatives of candidates or political entities that are coming from a position of power in order to promote political subjects, and it is in most cases a mirror through the use of company cars and insurance for the purposes of the election campaign. During the election campaign were no recorded cases of hate speech, and candidates have their campaign based largely on accusations between candidates of political opponents. The citizens on the basis of media coverage can make objective judgments of candidates. Unfortunately, during this election campaign, citizens did not have access to the source and the amount of money which is funded campaigns of political entities.
Election Day was generally conducted in accordance with laws and regulations, with a small number of incidents. Two-thirds of polling stations opened at exactly 7:00 am, and almost 95% of BM to 07:15. In the process of opening the polling stations are mostly concerned by the fact that even 30% of polling stations have not been adjusted for people with disabilities. The voting process is generally carried out in accordance with the law, rules and procedures, a worrying proliferation of cases of so-called. Family voting (at over 40% BM) and cases that one person provides assistance in voting a larger number of voters (the quarter BM). Closing the vast majority of polling stations carried out in accordance with the regulations, but in 14% of BM is not possible to vote for people who are at the time of closing of the polling station in front of the polling station. Counting process was conducted largely positive for the vast majority of polling stations, but the concern is the fact that 8% of polling stations are not prominently displaying the form summary results (ZR1 form, so-called. Yellow copy), and a large number of polling stations visibility data with copies of forms with a summary of the results is limited. In addition, by monitoring the work of local election administration on Election Day were observed instances of incorrect packaging of election material in even more than 40 municipalities and incorrectly filling in the forms of the electoral committees in the quarter observed municipalities.
In the 2014 general elections, the CEC complied with the planned works for publication of the results. Results for the General elections in 2014 were confirmed and published on 10 November 2014. In the period between Election Day and the day of publication of the election results, the election commission related to the overall electoral process having received 705 complaints and appeals, and conducted a re-count of votes in a centralised counting centre with a total of 198 polling stations. Coalition “Spotlight” after the election of the CEC of BiH submitted a list of 96 reported irregularities by citizens and observers of the Coalition in the hopes of the CEC considered and exploited in order to improve election administration in the future.
Coalition is also observed and the current process of implementation of the election results. The fact that almost all the institutions of the legislative authority other than the four-day delay in the case of the Canton 10 (Livno Canton), constituted the statutory deadline is certainly encouraging. However, the process of electing delegates to the homes of the people by the Federal Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH is difficult and slow, making it impossible to constitute the legislative power in full capacity within legal deadlines. Also, no election law or the Constitution of BiH does not know the terms for the formation of executive power at all levels in BiH, nor institute early elections if the government is not formed by a certain deadline. This leaves room for the representatives of the parliamentary political entities that talks on forming a government delaying i.e. They do not have a clearly defined deadline by which the executive must be formed.
Recommendations to improve the electoral process
- Initiate a process of drafting and adopting the law on political organisations at the national level;
- Simplify procedures for accreditation of domestic non-partisan observers;
- Pay particular attention to the criteria of competence and experience in the electoral process in the appointment and confirmation of members of local election commissions;
- Provide ongoing training of local election commissions in order to increase the efficiency of their work during the electoral period;;
- To increase transparency in the work of election commissions at all levels;
- Make fundamental changes and concrete improvements in terms of the manner of appointment and training of commissioners;
- Avoid sharing sites and potential trade towns in electoral committees between the political subjects;
- Provide that, in addition to members of committees of sanctioned political entities who are found to be at their direction violating the provisions of the Election Law;
- Adopt a code of conduct during the election campaign to prevent the misuse of public resources for election purposes;
- To improve the system of control of financial operations of political parties in the election and in non-election year
- Strictly comply with the provisions of the Election Law and the provisions implementing regulations stipulating the provision of security of electoral materials at each polling station;
- Introduce a separate transparent ballot boxes for each level of government is elected;
Reduce the amount of polling booths to the minimum amount that ensures the secrecy of voting;
- To improve the system of control of financial operations of political parties in the election and neizbornoj year;
- Technical advance of the duplicate forms with the summary of the results that they will be readable, and they publicly set the polling station after the completion of all processes at the polling station;
- Consider the introduction of ordinal numbers on the ballot for political entities;
- Consider marking ballots with serial numbers to improve security;
- Shorten all deadlines from the date of announcement of the elections until the official and complete publication of the final results of the elections (instead of the current 180 to 120 days);
- Provide non-partisan observers, as well as candidates of political entities in the semi-open lists, filing objections;
- To ensure a minimum representation for the three constituent peoples, national minorities and nationally undeclared in the legislature at the cantonal level in the Federation;
- Make provision in the Constitution and the Election Law that will prevent abuse of the national declaration in the electoral process.