CRTA’s election observation mission continued to observe the quality of the election process after the lifting of the state of emergency and the official reinstatement of the election process.
On April 6th, the City Emergency Headquarters in Bor adopted 11 orders introducing, inter alia, measures hindering human and minority rights although the Constitution and the laws of Serbia do not foresee such authority of the city headquarters. Orders, issued contrary to provisions of the Constitution and the law considerably and illegally restrict human rights and introduce obligations, i.e. responsibilities for groups of citizens that laws do not recognise and to a large extent cause legal uncertainty amongst citizens.
Postponement of the Constitutional amendments could be an opportunity to establish a new dialogue between government and professionals who had indicated the unacceptable solutions advocated by the Ministry of Justice during the process of consultations. However, in the view of the previous course of the consultation process and the opinions of the representatives of the executive and the legislative on the independence of the judiciary they had openly expressed, the fear remained that there will be no derogation from these solutions which in the opinion of the professional associations were just the solutions meeting the minimum of international standards but not improving the status of the judiciary.
We urge politicians, both in power and in opposition, and especially the President of the Republic Aleksandar Vučić and other public officials to refrain from actions during the state of emergency and the entire nation’s fight against the epidemic, which in many ways leave the impression that they are still in the election campaign. We expect the President to exhibit statesmanship, and discharge duties vested in him by the Constitution, and not to give the public a reason to conclude that the dramatic situation in society is being used to reap political benefits.
Timely implementation of the necessary legal changes is an important prerequisite for achieving the Media Strategy objectives. For this reason, it is of crucial importance not to delay the implementation, especially having in mind the fact that it took three years from the date of the adoption of the previous Media Strategy for the set of media laws to be adopted.
The CRTA Observation Mission has begun long-term monitoring of the pre-election period in Serbia, in accordance with international standards for independent civic election observation. Since mid-October 2019, the monitoring team has been systematically gathering information about reporting on all political actors by media with national frequencies in the extended prime-time. Since February 10th, 2020, 120 long-term CRTA observers have been deployed to monitor key elements of the election campaign for MPs, including the period before the calling of the elections, in the territory of the entire country.
CRTA’s election observation mission withdraws all of its 120 long-term observers from the field across Serbia due to the graveness of the situation with coronavirus. Puting the citizens’ safety as the key priority within these recent circumstances, we believe this to be the only appropriate and responsible decision.
Serbia enters the period of 2020 parliamentary and local elections in a situation where the political battle continues to be held outside of the institutional framework. Part of the opposition has been boycotting the work of the National Assembly since February 2019.
Because politics is not just for politicians. It is our human and citizen right to participate in the processes of making decisions which influence our lives. A dialogue has no alternative.
Free and fair elections
Because elections are the pillars of democracy. It is every citizen’s right to decide on whom to give his/her vote in free and fair conditions. Our vote is valuable and it can make a difference.
Because institutions serve the citizens. We need strong institutions with integrity which protect the public interest.
Because media should ask questions and critically analyse the reality. We need the media which protect the public interest and tackle the needs of the citizens.