The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) organized an online roundtable discussion titled, ‘Mostar: Youth and Elections’, on 16 December 2020 involving representatives of the Youth Council of the City of Mostar, the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections Pod Lupom, and the OSCE Mission’s Youth Advisory Group, as well as other youth organizations.
The aim of the roundtable discussion was to raise awareness of youth participation in elections as an important cornerstone of democracy. The focus was primarily on eligible voters in the city of Mostar, which has been without an elected, accountable administration for more than 12 years.
“Your vote matters. By exercising your right to vote for the candidates you believe in can best serve the interests of your communities; it will strengthen democracy in this country,” said Ambassador Kathleen Kavalec, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH, highlighting the need for young people to work together and to exercise their right to vote. “The fact is that, at the local level, joint work with youth can make a difference.”
The roundtable discussions included the Mission’s local election pledge initiative, which entails several key commitments aimed at contributing to a peaceful and fair electoral process in the local communities. They also considered the challenging mandate ahead of newly elected officials in Mostar who will face several outstanding issues requiring urgent solutions.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was also discussed. The roundtable participants highlighted the need to encourage all voters to protect both themselves and polling station workers by wearing masks and respecting all epidemiological measures while voting.
“The possibilities of misusing an election decreases with high voter turnout,” said Kavalec. “So please treasure this right, and exercise it at liberty.”
Kavalec concluded that the OSCE Mission to BiH will continue to work closely with the local administration to support the citizens of Mostar.