OSCE: Election boycott not in best interest of healthy democracy

NEWS 20.02.2021 17:24
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Voting is a basic democratic right and election boycotts are not in the best interest of a healthy democracy, the OSCE Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina said a day before the repeat voting in two Bosnia's town that some political parties announced they would boycott.

“Voting is a basic democratic right; citizens are free to participate or not. Election boycotts are not in the best interests of a healthy democracy,” said the OSCE's office in Sarajevo.

OSCE also underscored they would continue supporting the efforts of Bosnia's top electoral body, the Central Election Commission, to advance the country's electoral system and called on political parties to respect the Commission's decisions.

Eligible residents of the municipality of Srebrenica and the city of Doboj will cast their ballots on Sunday in a repeat voting that comes as a result of reported irregularities at some of the polling stations in the October 2020 local election. All appeals to the Central Election Commission's decision to call the repeat vote were rejected by the State Court so the Commission set a new date on February 21.

However, political parties grouped around the Bosniak ‘My Address Srebrenica’ Coalition announced the election boycott and called on their supporters not to vote tomorrow.

Their main objection goes towards the Central Election Commission for which they said it should have also annulled the mail-in ballots for the Srebrenica local election, also over alleged irregularities.

“We will call on our voters not to go to the polls. That is our message – that we are not accepting what the Central Election Commission did, that it deprived us of 800 mail-in ballots at the very start,” mayoral candidate Alija Tabakovic said earlier.

The candidates of the coalition will still be running in the election and if they do get elected, they will not accept the mandates, he said, explaining that as a consequence the town will get a mono-ethnic assembly and a Serb mayor.

In accordance with the Election Law, the vote in both Doboj and Srebrenica will be done based on the same voter register and candidate slates that were used in the initial local election in October 2020.

The election will be repeated at 26 out of 28 polling stations for Srebrenica as well as 89 out of a total of 108 polling stations in Doboj.

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