#01 ENSURE EQUALITY OF ALL PARTICIPANTS IN THE CANDIDACY PROCESS
Citizens have the right to run for political and public office, as individuals or representatives of political parties and organisations, without discrimination (CD 7.5). The Venice Commission’s Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters (VC) states that when submitting candidacies, there must be clear rules for signature verification (VC I.1.3.iii), and that signature verification must be completed before the start of the election campaign (I.1.3.c). Special rules for national minorities foreseeing derogations from normal procedures are in principle not contrary to equal suffrage (I.2.4.b). In order for these standards to be met, it is necessary to undertake the following:
a. Introduce the obligation that the holder of the list be a candidate in the local elections
In order to realise the principle of accountability of political representatives towards voters it is necessary to change the provision of the Law on the Election of Members of Parliament (article 42) as well as the provision of the Law on Local Elections, article 22, paragraph 4 in the direction of introducing the obligation that the holder of the list in the elections must be a candidate in those same elections. (See article 47, 69-71, and article 72. of the Unified Electoral Law.)
b. Return collection of voters’ supporting signatures to the jurisdiction of notaries and courts
In order to prevent possible abuses during the verification of voters’ signatures by local self-government bodies, it is necessary to amend the relevant provisions of the Law on the Election of Members of the Parliament and the Law on Local Elections, which prescribe the verification of signatures supporting the electoral list by harmonising these provision with regulations governing the work of notaries. This would mean that a voter can support by their signature only one list and that their signature must be verified by a notary. In cities and municipalities where there are no notaries appointed, signatures can be verified in a first instance court, court unit or reception office of the first instance court. The possibility of verification of signatures in the municipal or city administration should be excluded from the Law on the Election of Members of the Parliament.
c. Separate the process of the electoral lists submission and the official commencement of the election campaign
Amendments and supplements to the Law on the Election of Members of Parliament and the Law on the Election of the President of the Republic should help separate the process of candidacy announcement and collection of signatures from the campaign itself. In this way, the campaign can officially start only when the Electoral Commission adopts the collective electoral list. Submitting electoral lists would be a special process which takes place independently from the electoral campaign (duration from 30 to 60 days) and lasts for a definite period of time. While submitting the electoral lists, all activities within the conduct of the election campaign would be prohibited and in that way the equality of all participants in the campaign would be improved. (See Chapters 6-7 of the Unified Electoral Law.)
d. Define more clearly the position of national minority parties in the election process #57
In order to avoid abuses of the status of minority parties in the election cycle, it is necessary to amend the Law on Political Parties to change the manner of registration of parties regarding the status of national minority parties in the election cycle. Although the provision of the Law on the Election of Members of the Parliament allows the REC not to recognise the status of a national minority party on the basis of its discretionary decision, the application of this provision has no effect as jurisprudence has shown that the status of a national minority party has been recognised to each party (by the Administrative Court following a complaint lodged by parties) which is registered as a party of a national minority in the register of political parties at the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government.