The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections “Pod lupom” conducted research on direct and indirect influences on voters in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with both having increased in recent years. There are serious concerns due to the lack of mechanisms to protect citizens as well as existing mechanisms that have not been effectively used.
The research was conducted in August 2023 in 69 out of 143 cities and municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (40 in the FBiH, 28 in the RS and Brčko District of BiH) and included 868 citizens in BiH. The findings show that political pressures and undemocratic and illegal influence on the electoral will of citizens are very common when it comes to BiH’s actuality.
Political pressures on voters in Bosnia and Herzegovina are both an open secret and an under-researched problem, but these are also an under-represented topic particularly in the period leading up to the elections. What is particularly alarming is the fact that many forms of political pressure have become common practice imposed by political subjects participating in election races, which has led to the fact that citizens often perceive pressure on voters as regular activities implemented by political parties. The goal of such research is for citizens to actively oppose the pressure on voters caused by electoral corruption and to become more resistant to all forms of pressure and intimidation of voters. – as stated in the Coalition “Pod lupom”.
The research of the Coalition “Pod lupom” showed that over 88% of respondents were familiar with the term and meaning of political pressure, while almost 40% of respondents stated that they had experienced some form of political pressure. Additionally, close to 30% of respondents stated that they experienced political pressure to participate in some political or party activities against their will.
Among varies forms of political pressure on voters, direct pressure on “who to vote for” is the most prominent. This is followed by attendance at political or party events, pressure to join the party, especially in order to exercise certain rights or offering personal benefits (most often employment). The respondents also placed high on scale the political pressure related to the collection of the so-called “certain votes” for a political party or candidate, then pressure to support and promote political parties or candidates on social networks.
Elections represent the basic pillar of every democracy and the opportunity for citizens to express their will as well as to influence the shaping of the future of their country, and no one should have the right to influence citizens in any way for them to vote against their will.
The Coalition “Pod lupom” is of the opinion that it is necessary to introduce a policy of zero tolerance towards political pressures and abuses in order to create an atmosphere in which such activities are most severely condemned and punished. Political entities must respect the law and refrain from exerting pressure on voters. Cases of alleged pressure on voters should be investigated quickly, thoroughly and efficiently, and prosecutors and the Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina should promptly hold the perpetrators to account.
More information as well as entire document on research can be found at the link: https://bit.ly/3Rm6LOa