Within the project funded by the European Union, the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections “Pod Lupom” held yesterday a central conference entitled “Future of elections in BiH: How to reach international standards and prevent election fraud?” and presented its Final Report on the Civic and Non-partisan Observation of the 2018 General Elections.
The incomplete legal framework, non-implementation of binding verdicts by local and international courts, transparent violation of the Election Law of BiH, a record high number of registered election irregularities, political influence on the election administration and the absence of sanctions contributed to the Coalition assessing the 2018 General Elections as partially irregular. This is the first time in the Coalition’s history that some segments of the electoral process are assessed as irregular.
Opening remarks were made by H.E. Eric Nelson, the United States Ambassador to BiH, H.E. Ambassador Bruce Berton, the Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH and Elisabet Tomasinec, the Head of Political Section at the European Union Delegation/EUSR Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The conference included two panel discussions on the burning issues: “How to achieve free and fair elections in BiH: Mission impossible or a pressing need” and the “Priorities in improving the election legislation in BiH: Where to start and where to stop?”
The conclusions that were reached at the conference should serve BiH decision-makers to improve the electoral legislation in BiH:
Election fraud and irregularities must be prevented, and perpetrators must be sanctioned so that the electoral will of BiH citizens is never called into question again. Also, the new government in BiH must secure the necessary changes of the electoral legislation in order to conduct free and fair elections in the near future.
Introducing new technologies in the electoral process is an inevitable step to bring back the citizens’ trust in the elections, and it is also a crucial step that should be implemented in the non-election year.