Foreign embassies and offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomed the decision of the Central Election Commission (CEC) to annul the elections in several polling stations in the municipalities of Srebrenica and Doboj, urging the relevant authorities to investigate the reported allegations of electoral frauds “promptly.” They also strongly condemned attacks on one of the Commission members.
A joint statement signed by the OSCE Mission to BiH, the Office of the High Representative, the Embassies of the US and UK, and the Embassy of Sweden – as chair of the OSCE, said this decision would help “ensure the integrity of the elections and restore the citizens’ confidence in election administration.”
“Our organizations/embassies will continue working with the CEC and other relevant authorities on improving the electoral processes in BiH, to ensure that future elections are in line with relevant international standards, including OSCE/ODIHR’s and GRECO recommendations. To this end, it is important that BiH authorities start working on the necessary amendments to the BiH Election Law, through an open and inclusive process,” said the statement.
But, they also “strongly condemned” the attack of Bosnia's Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik on CEC member Vanja Bjelica-Prutina, during his media address on Thursday when he criticised the CEC decision to annul the elections in the two municipalities.
His comments referred to Bjelica-Prutina's ethnicity and the embassies called it unacceptable.
The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, OHR, and the Embassies of the US and UK in BiH, and the Embassy of Sweden in BiH, as chair of the OSCE, strongly condemn the attack of BiH Presidency Member Dodik against CEC member Vanja Bjelica-Prutina.
“Hateful and personal attacks against a member of an independent institution are unacceptable and deserve to be further scrutinized by relevant institutions in BiH as soon as possible,” they said, adding:
“High-ranking officials have additional obligations to refrain from hateful and offensive language because of their status in society and the serious consequences that could be caused by such rhetoric. Dissatisfaction with institutional decisions need to be addressed through institutional remedies rather than threatening language and personal attacks. We call upon all elected leaders to take responsibility for the task at hand, which is to engage in responsible dialogue and implement election integrity reforms in 2021.”
On Friday, the Commission also condemned the comments, calling for the reaction of relevant institutions.