Public officials are campaigning for local elections

The electoral atmosphere in the municipalities of Lučani, Kula, Kladovo and Doljevac, where local elections shall be held on Sunday, are characterised primarily by public officials’ campaigning. In all four municipalities, an intense presence of public officials was noted – from ministers to directors of services and public companies – accompanied by the abuse of public resources. These are the main findings of the CRTA observation mission whose observers monitor the election campaign on the spot.

Although these are local elections, the campaign has in these four municipalities taken on characteristics of national elections. In the last month, ministers and public officials visited more than 20 times all four municipalities. More than one half of visits was recorded in Lučani”, stated Raša Nedeljkov, the head of the CRTA observation mission.

The campaign is running without concrete programmes or messages from electoral actors. Ruling parties’ lists rely on public authorities’ results achieved in the previous period, thereat blurring the line between the institutions and the party. The opposition block in Lučani relies on the negative campaign against the Serbian Progressive Party and their coalition partners.

The election campaign is marked by an atmosphere of threats and pressures on voters and electoral actors in all municipalities. Pressures and threats, however, are most pronounced in the municipality of Lučani. Two incidents have been recorded – burning of banners and an assault on a female activist of the Serbian Progressive Party, about which the public was informed through the Serbian Progressive Party announcement. The CRTA observation mission was unable to find other data about these incidents. The only source was this party’s release.

“Instead of recording improvements of the election process between election cycles, we testify of the fact that there are no advancements whatsoever. Local electoral lists do not offer concrete programmes. Instead, renowned public officials, who are at the same time members of ruling political parties, conduct local campaigns, while the opposition messages come down to simple attacks on the ruling parties. It is important that all election actors be accountable and that they refrain from creating an atmosphere of fear,“ assessed Raša Nedeljkov.

During the campaign, the municipality organised or participated in humanitarian actions (such as free medical examinations, free concerts and other cultural events), but there were indications that these were actually activities aiming to promote the ruling parties.

So far in the campaign, the CRTA observation mission has not recorded any major deviations in the conduct of preparatory actions for the holding of elections by the local election administration.

You can read the complete report about the campaign on this  link.