CEC to enable domestic observers to monitor the work of the Electoral Commission
After more than 20 days, the City Electoral Commission (CEC) have not approved domestic observers to attend the CEC sessions and monitor the work of this electoral body. Even though the CEC confirmed that CRTA and CeSID fulfilled legal requirements as domestic observers on January 17th 2018, the CEC did not provide written authorization to monitor CEC sessions. CEC did not included in the agenda requests for monitoring the work of electoral bodies submitted by the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM) and Citizens on Watch for more than few weeks.
Organizations CRTA, CeSid and YUCOM invite the City Electoral Commision to comply with the Instructions for the Conduct of Elections for Councilors of the City of Belgrade and to approve domestic observers within the shortest deadline to attend the City Electoral Commission sessions and monitor its work.
Since February 14th the CEC held 16 sessions without the presence of election observers. Monitoring the work of electoral bodies during the election process and the performance of polling boards during the election day by the independent domestic observation missions represent key democratic standard, and OSCE member states accepted the obligation to enable uninterrupted work of independent observation missions.
Restricting domestic observers to monitor the work of election administration seriously undermines the transparency of the election process. Presence and activities of all interested domestic and international independent observers is important characteristic of free and democratic elections and a good practice example in all democratic countries. Also, enabling conditions for non-partisan election observation is an obligation that Serbia should respect as a member of OSCE and a signatory of the ODIHR’s 1990 Copenhagen Document. International standards for non-partisan election observation by the civil society include the monitoring of the entire electoral process – election campaign, the Election Day and period following the elections until the official announcement of the election results, and the work of election administration – in this case the CEC.
Objective and non-partisan observation, analysis and reporting on election process by civil society organizations provides citizens the information about the work of electoral bodies and the other actors involved in the election process. Improved access to information contributes to better understanding of election processes and strengthening citizens trust in the work of institutions, election process and election results.
In previous parliamentary and presidential elections the Republic Electoral Commission issued authorization for monitoring the work of the Commission to domestic observers within the shortest deadline, which contributed to transparency of the overall election process.
CRTA, CeSID and YUCOM have extensive experience in monitoring of the election process and work of election administration. Findings and recommendations for improvements of election processes are in accordance with findings and recommendations of the OSCE/ODHIR international observation mission. CRTA and CeSID are members of the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO).
CRTA – Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability
CeSID – Center for Free Elections and Democracy
YUCOM – Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights