Transparency International in Bosnia (TI BiH) recorded numerous forms of misuse of public resources for political promotion, with some parties and candidates already starting paid advertising, despite the fact that this is explicitly prohibited outside the official election campaign period, TI BiH said Thursday presenting their first monitoring results of election activities in 68 local communities in the country.
For this reason, TI BiH forwarded the information from 20 cases to the Central Election Commission (CIK), which mostly relates to the premature election campaign, and eight cases of advertising in places that are not suited for that purpose, such as schools.
Over the past 30 days, 70 TI BiH observers covered 263 public events organized by public institutions and companies, of which 62 were related to the opening of infrastructure facilities. Some 70 percent of events were used to promote candidates in local elections, many of whom have no public office and it is not clear in what capacity they attended those events.
According to them, election promises were made in 78 addresses, while party characteristics were highlighted at 25 public events. All these data clearly show that public events, organized by institutions and paid by public funds, were mostly used to promote parties and candidates in local elections, the global corruption watchdog said.
Also, the NGO recorded eight examples of paid advertising of public institutions in which candidates for local elections were promoted.
“There were 17 examples of mass employment of workers in public institutions and companies. Observers also noted 50 cases of distribution of various types of subsidies and assistance from public budgets during this period,” TI BiH said in their statement.
“Free medical check-ups, medicines and other types of public services were used to promote candidates in the upcoming local elections in 14 cases,” TI BiH said adding that they recorded 128 examples of intensification of public works during the observed period, which primarily refer to the beginning of the construction of various infrastructure facilities.
For years the Berlin-based NGO has been monitoring election activities in Bosnia for the purpose of documenting all kinds of misuses of public resources for political promotion as well as discovering illegal incomes of political parties.
In days to come, the TI BiH will publish an app called Reflektor via which Bosnian residents will be allowed to anonymously report examples of election fraud, the buying of votes, election employments, advertising on places where such ads are forbidden, provision of public services in exchange for votes and other types of misuses of public funds during the election campaign.
The mentioned activities are implemented under the project "Support to Citizens in the Fight against Corruption" in cooperation with partner organizations Centres for Civil Initiatives (CCI) and the Centre for Media Development and Analysis (CRMA). Financial support for the project was provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).