According to Transparency International in BiH (TI BiH), this is the most expensive election campaign in the country to date and there are many cases of abuse of public funds.
TI BiH monitored the behaviour of politicians, political parties, public institutions and companies for three months ahead of the elections, which will take place on Sunday, in order to identify potential cases of the misuse of public funds for the purpose of election promotion, as well as illegal forms of election campaigning.
“The data we have collected so far shows a huge increase in public spending before the elections. There was about 270 million BAM which was distributed directly to citizens for the purpose of gathering electoral support. These are one-time contributions ahead of the elections of 100 BAM or whatever amount each government level distributed to citizens. We had a huge increase in funds related to public works, and all of this was used for the purpose of election promotion, so for that purpose, significant funds were allocated for large demonstrations that were organized and where, in some cases, pre-election messages were promoted directly,” said Ivana Korajlic, director of TI BiH.
She stressed that the practice of using public funds directly for the promotion of candidates is becoming more and more prevalent and that similar things could be seen ahead of the local elections in 2020.
“Unfortunately, what we warned would happen after the imposition of technical changes to the Election Law is that they are very restrictive and that a large part of what we are talking about, which is the direct abuse of public resources, is not regulated by these provisions”, she said, commenting on the changes imposed by the High Representative of the international community, Christian Schmidt.
She said that the law still does not clearly define what represents an abuse of funds for the purpose of an election campaign.
Korajlic said that more than 9,6 million BAM were spent on election campaigning.
“We already have announcements that some pop stars from the region will sing at certain gatherings, so this figure will increase significantly, and what the parties presented as potential spending has already been exceeded,” said Korajlic.