The dialogue between the government and the opposition on improving the election conditions is taking place on two tracks. The first lasts for a long time in the National Assembly without foreign mediators, and the beginning of the second with the mediation of the delegation of the European Parliament is still awaited.
There is a possibility that the first track of the dialogue without foreign mediators will be completed by the arrival of the EP delegation in Belgrade in July, and that the two tracks will then be merged into one. Our European colleagues are obviously not in as much of a hurry as we are, because the time until the next elections is rapidly running out and there is less and less of it. If we agreed on both tracks of the dialogue that the dialogue must be completed and the agreement implemented at least six months before the first next elections in Serbia, then that means that there are only two months left for the final negotiations and agreements.
The main thing that has not been resolved is the status of the early parliamentary elections and whether they will be at the same time as the presidential and Belgrade elections in late March or early April next year, or may be postponed until later, despite SNS president’s promises after last year’s success. levels.
Another key question is whether the existing 3% electoral threshold will change or not, although the government claims that there will be no change in the electoral threshold. Authorities who have lied and betrayed their promises so many times so far cannot easily take their word for it, so these two key topics remain in question until the very end of the negotiations.
As for other topics, they are all on the table and it must be admitted that – unlike last year – this time the government is openly discussing all key issues of the election process in Serbia: lack of media freedom, official campaign, pressure on voters, voter list abuse …
For the first time, the leaders of the public media services RTS and RTV sat down with the opposition and have the obligation to offer a package of shows in which the opposition will be much more represented than before, to which they are obliged by the Constitution and existing media laws. Also, a special commission will be formed, which will include representatives of the opposition for the control and revision of the Unified Voters’ List, so that there would be no more doubts about manipulations with the JBS.
The opposition has opened many key questions: can the holder of the electoral list be someone who is not a candidate in the elections and does not reside in that constituency, how will the permanent composition of the REC function when it is filled from the parliamentary groups in the current National Assembly? there is no opposition at all, whether the number of signatures that need to be submitted for the electoral list should be reduced, how to enable the creation of notaries to collect signatures with the help of municipal certifiers, why the opposition cannot normally use local community halls and other public spaces for meetings, etc.
Special issues concern the election day and the protection of the right to vote, ie how to immediately after the end of the counting of votes all minutes from polling stations are scanned and publicly available on the REC website, how to control the work of the Statistical Office and entry of election results from the minutes. to speed up the work of administrative courts on complaints, as well as how to increase the penalties for the crimes of vote buying, abuse of the voter list, pressure on voters and other types of violations of the law.
An important issue is that all financial resources provided for the elections are distributed to all electoral participants before the elections, and not, as has been the case so far, only 20% of the planned funds are distributed, and the remaining 80% goes to those who enter Parliament. which is meaningless because they are already followed by special funds for parliamentary work. In a way, the total financial resources that can be spent in the election campaign should be limited so that money does not play a major role in politics, as well as the functionary campaign, which should simply be banned during the election process, ie. government officials can do their job and open various renovated or newly built facilities and other investments, but without media announcements.
All of these are important questions that are still to be answered by the representatives of the ruling regime in this inter-party dialogue, because most of these questions directly affect the regime’s well-established methods of gaining an illegal advantage over political opponents. Nobody expects that all the accumulated problems can be solved now, nor is it realistic that the government and the opposition will be equally represented in the media, but definitely not everything can remain as it was so far, which was the reason for the boycott of the elections by the opposition.
Finally, the most important issue of this dialogue concerns the agreement on the establishment of a joint supervisory body in which the opposition would have its representatives, whose task would be to monitor the implementation of the final agreement between the government and the opposition on improving electoral conditions, as well as to monitor and control the entire pre-election and election process, so that after its completion we can all say that we had free and fair elections. Without this kind of guarantee, nothing can be trusted by the authorities, not even a signed word.
– SERBIAN info (@srbininfo) June 19, 2021
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