Institutions unwilling to protect free elections

The decision of the Special Department of the Higher Public Prosecutor’s Office in Novi Sad to dismiss a criminal charges pressed against an unknown perpetrator from the municipal administration of Šid as a result of irregularities observed on the day of the local elections in Lučani, is another example of the unwillingness of institutions to enforce laws and to continuously protect fair and free elections.

Among more than 200 cars registered outside the municipality of Lučani, spotted on December16th,2018 in Lučani in front of the polling stations, there was also a vehicle belonging to the municipal administration of Šid. From the confusing explanation of the prosecution’s decision that there was no abuse of office and public resources, one can conclude that in the disputed car, along with the official driver, there was an Assistant to the Mayor of Šid municipality, who was visiting on that day (Sunday) the public company “Dragačevo roads” from Guča for, and we quote,  joint consideration of all the positive aspects of the replacement of existing lighting with LED lighting that the public company “Dragačevo roads” from Guča will make in the territory of the municipality of Lučani (end of quote).

The Prosecution took into account the letter of invitation from the Director of the public company “Dragačevo roads”, the travel order and the report of the Assistant Mayor of Šid municipality on official travel as sufficient evidence. There was no question as to why the municipal authority of Šid was competent and called to deal with lighting in the hundreds of kilometres distant Lučani, why in the given period, why so urgently that the meeting had to be held on a non-working day, etc. Because of all this, the prosecution’s decision cannot convince us that we have not seen yet another case of misuse of public resources for political campaigning, which is one of the key problems of the election process that we have consistently been warning about.

In light of the discussions about the electoral conditions just underway, the example of the “Šid vehicle and Lučani lighting” shows how much more we still have to work on improving electoral conditions and deep systematic changes.