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Transparency Serbia Demands Actions to Ensure that Elections Won't Turn into an Arena for Corruption

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Transparency Serbia demanded last Friday, January 24, 2014, from the competent authorities and institutions of the Republic of Serbia, to undertake proper measures to resolve the problems noted in past elections and to prevent that the upcoming Local Elections in Belgrade, as well as the potential early parliamentary elections turn into an arena for corruption and abuse of public resources.

“Although the opportunity to undertake measures that would involve changing of regulations has been missed, there is still possibility to act in order to change the recent practices”, states Transparency Serbia, the local chapter of Transparency International.
The organisation notes that Electoral Supervisory Board, which would monitor and supervise the media coverage of elections, follow the conduct of political parties’ representatives and officials, and issue warnings and initiates procedures against those participants in the elections found in violation of the Law, especially in cases of incitement to violence, national, religious and racial hatred and promotion of gender imbalance.

Transparency Serbia reminded the public that, in spite of the legal obligation for creation of the Supervisory Board, the National Assembly has last appointed a Supervisory Board in the Elections held in December 2000.  

Transparency Serbia also demands from the Anti-Corruption Agency to continue the control of election campaign financial reports of last elections and initiate proper procedures in all cases of violations of the Law. Also, the Anti-corruption Agency should adopt decisions to withhold budget assets to parties found guilty of violations of the law and to inform the public on it.

Misdemeanour courts should bring to a closure, as soon as possible, all procedures in cases of violations of the Law on Financing of Political Activities, TS states, noting that out of about 500 procedures initiated in 2013, just ten were finalized by December 15, 2013.

TS states that the police and prosecution authorities should inform the public about their activities to investigate all criminal offenses of which political parties accused each other in past elections, especially those related to irregularities in counting of the votes, „buying“votes and abuse of public resources.

TS thinks that police and prosecution should act proactively to statements on „purchasing“ of votes and abuses. TS recently checked whether there were such reactions on the basis of claims on purchasing of votes at Kostolac elections. Prosecution answered that there wasn't such proceeding and the police forwarded our letter with links of published news to prosecution.

Due to the fact that the chance to regulate the promotion of candidates and party leaders that hold public offices regarding activities that include signing of agreements with investors, opening of public facilities, visits to construction sites, distribution of welfare assistance etc. – TS called on holders of public offices to refrain from such activities for the duration of the campaign.

“Besides, we think that Republic Broadcasting Agency should introduce rules on media broadcasting of such promotions into obligatory general instruction”, Transparency Serbia said.

Finally, TS reiterated its position that election participants should publish their programs at the beginning of the campaign, to give  enough time for comments to the general public and experts, and to allow the political parties time to offer reasonable explanation of the methods they intend to apply to ensure that they will accomplish campaign promises and the sources of funding for those activities. (Source: Transparency Serbia)

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