2018 General Elections will be announced for about 30 days from today. However, no compromise has been find and no willingness has been demonstrated by the decision-makers in order to advance the Election Law of BiH, so to ensure free and fair elections. Only four significant changes to the Election Law of BiH were adopted during the period 2012 – 2016, out of which one directly jeopardize citizens of BiH. During 2016 General Elections, intra-party threshold for candidates has been increased from 5% to 20%, which is, according to the Coalition ” Pod lupom”, unacceptable and threaten the voters’ basic rights – both the right to vote and the right to stand for election.
“This means that on October 2018 General Elections citizens will vote in de facto closed- lists system. Basically, every candidate we vote for has a very little chance to overcome the threshold of 20%, therefore political parties, rather than citizens, are those who will have the final word and decide who is going to represent citizens in parliaments, which is a huge step backwards in the achieved democratic standards”, said Jelena Tanaskovic Mićanović, Public Policy Coordinator of the Coalition “Pod lupom“.
Proposals to achieve both, technical and technological improvements to the election process, have been in the parliamentary procedure since the 2016 Local Elections were held. One of the proposals was prepared by the Coalition “Pod lupom“, which relied on recommendations that would help to partially depoliticise the procedure to appoint the president/vice-president of the polling station committees; extend the circle of persons having the right to file complain pertaining to non-party observers and political parties’ candidates; cancel elections on polling stations where excess of ballot papers is determined, etc.
“Although all parliamentarians with whom we held individual meetings initially supported our proposal, although the Draft Law was adopted in the first reading in the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of the BiH, the proposal failed, which we consider to be grossly damaging because it showed that there is no genuine support to advance important segments of the election process“, Tanaskovic- Mićanović added.
Among organizations observing elections, recommendations to advance the election process were provided by the Coalition “Pod lupom” (34 recommendations) and OSCE/ODIHR (28 recommendations). Most of these recommendations have not yet been used/considered at the Parliamentary Assembly.
The Coalition “Pod lupom” today presented to the public and sent to parliamentarians a new Proposal to Change and Amend the Election Law of BiH, hoping it will be supported by the authorities. The proposed changes are pertaining to introduction of early voting, depolitisation or diminishing political influence while appointing the president/vice-president of polling station committees; prevention of abuse of national expression; creation of a precondition to introduce new technologies in the voting process; prevention of abuse of public funds and introduction of responsibility by political subject for the actions committed at the polling station by the polling station committees members representing that political subject.