The Anti-Corruption Law does not solve problems in the election process

The Anti-Corruption Law which was adopted today does not allow curbing of public resources abuse and the prevention of public officials’ campaign, and is in fact yet another missed opportunity to improve legal framework for the conduct of the elections is Serbia, assessed the organisation CRTA.

CRTA warns that the lack of systemic and comprehensive dealing with electoral conditions contributes to further collapse of the quality of the election process.

Instead of providing a more precise definition of the concept of public resources and adequate sanctions in case of their abuse, the new Law simply copies the existing, inadequate legal solution. The adopted Law does not solve the problem of the abuse of gatherings organised by public bodies and institutions in order to promote candidates during the election campaign. Furthermore, the Anti-Corruption Law does not solve the issue of excessive spending of budgetary and other public funds during the campaign, such as extraordinary wages, pensions, social benefits, non-refundable assistance, and write-offs of various debts. Besides, the actions of the Anti-Corruption Agency during the election campaign will not be more efficient, as the deadlines for dealing with citizens’ applications remain too long for the purpose of effective curbing of corruption in the election campaign. Additionally, new rules governing the selection of the Agency’s management raise concern, as its independence from political influences shall be significantly compromised.

These are some of the recorded shortcomings of the new Law, whereas  the summary of the Anti-Corruption Law is available on the Open Parliament website. On the basis of the findings of a multi-annual monitoring of elections at various levels, CRTA came up with 60 recommendations that can contribute to better election conditions in Serbia.