As citizens prepare to exercise their right to vote in the 2020 local elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) this Sunday, 15 November 2020, the OSCE Mission to BiH wishes to share a few important messages in the interests of free, fair and safe elections in BiH.
We welcome and support the efforts of the Central Election Commission (CEC) to ensure full transparency in its work and to identify and respond to possible attempts of election fraud. We encourage voters to view the informational videos on voting provided by the CEC before they head to the polls. To help protect the integrity of the elections, citizens should report any cases of suspected fraud to the CEC and relevant law enforcement authorities. We also welcome the measures taken by the CEC to ensure that the COVID-19 positive or isolated cases have been granted an opportunity to vote via a special mobile team.
We call on all political parties and candidates to uphold the principles of free and fair elections, show respect both for their competitors and for voters before, during and after the elections and accept officially-confirmed electoral results. We hope there will be no inflammatory rhetoric or provocative incidents on election day and we call for peaceful celebrations after the announcement of results.
Election observers, both independent and from political parties, should be allowed to perform their duties without hindrance. This year, ‘Pod Lupom’ a coalition of NGOs, will deploy independent observers to monitor elections across the country. This is a fundamental safeguard for the integrity of elections.
We urge authorities to provide the necessary personal protective equipment to all election personnel and to ensure all epidemiological measures are respected in the polling stations. In cases where schools are used as polling stations, authorities should ensure that disinfection takes place immediately after voting is completed. It is important that children and school staff in the country are able to resume their activities without undue health risks.
Elections are an important cornerstone of a democracy. We hope that all eligible voters will use this opportunity to strengthen democracy in BiH by exercising their right to vote for the candidates they believe can best serve the interests of their communities. In this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage all voters to protect both themselves and polling station workers by wearing masks and respecting all required epidemiological measures while voting.
The OSCE Mission to BiH wishes all citizens a safe and peaceful election day, which contributes to a stronger and more prosperous future.