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The BiH CEC provided a timely response to all election-related irregularities

16.12.2020

President of the BiH Central Election Commission (BiH CEC) Željko Bakalar met today with US Ambassador to BiH Eric Nelson, Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative to BiH Ambassador Johann Sattler, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH Ambassador Kathleen Kavalec, and Project Director of the Coalition “Pod lupom” Dario Jovanović.

 

The interlocutors discussed the 2020 Local Elections, including the Mostar elections, as well as significant electoral reform efforts to improve election integrity and to implement ODIHR and GRECO recommendations, which are also part of the Key Priorities of the European Commission’s Opinion.

 

The ambassadors commended the BiH CEC for significant efforts to ensure that local elections are held in line with international standards, despite a number of restrictions, including those concerning COVID-19 pandemic. They stressed that the independence of the BiH CEC is a necessary precondition for a functioning electoral system, and any attempt to influence or put pressure on its work is unacceptable.

 

The ambassadors also welcomed the proactive role of the Coalition “Pod lupom” in observing the elections and reporting on all irregularities and allegations of irregularities throughout the electoral process. In addition, the importance of close co-operation between the BiH CEC and observers from civil society organizations in the election process was emphasized.

 

US Ambassador Nelson said: “The BiH CEC has undoubtedly faced extraordinary blows this year and has taken unprecedented steps to improve the electoral process despite these challenges.”

 

The Ambassadors welcomed the fact that the BiH CEC provided a timely response to all election-related irregularities, and have urged all competent authorities to fully investigate these irregularities, as well as to take adequate follow-up action.

 

 

Ambassador Kavalec stated: “The CEC has made great efforts to improve the transparency of its work and it has paid off. Transparent and efficient communication between the BiH CEC, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors is a necessary precondition for resolving alleged election fraud in a timely manner, and we encourage all actors involved to further enhance their cooperation.”

 

Allegations of electoral irregularities following the recent local elections have shown that technical and broader legislative reform is still needed to ensure transparency and integrity of the electoral process.

 

 

Ambassador Sattler pointed out: “The opinion of the European Commission is very clear that significant progress in the EU accession process cannot be achieved without a thorough improvement of the legislative and institutional framework of BiH towards the democratic quality of the electoral process. The citizens of this country also expect full transparency and integrity of the electoral process.”

 

Furthermore, the ambassadors welcomed the fact that after 12 years the citizens of Mostar will have the opportunity to vote on December 20, emphasizing that the elections must be held in a free, fair and transparent manner, while respecting all health protection measures.

 

Representatives of the Coalition “Pod lupom” mentioned that their team of observers will cover all 150 regular polling stations in Mostar on the day of the elections.

 

At the end of the meeting, the ambassadors expressed support to the expectations of BiH citizens that 2021 will be productive in terms of progress in reforms that will bring the BiH electoral system in line with European standards.

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