Transparency International in Bosnia and Herzegovina (TI BiH) said Thursday that the imposition of changes to the Election Law by the High Representative is completely unacceptable, strongly condemning this move, adding it is irreconcilable with democratic principles.
The High Representative's decision to impose changes to the Election Law two months before the election is unacceptable, undemocratic and inexplicable.
As announced by this organization, the imposition of changes to the Election Law, even only “technical” ones, just two months before the election is a violation of the basic principle that regulations affecting the conduct of elections are not changed after they have been announced, but also implies the complete exclusion of democratic procedures, public discussions and the participation of relevant institutions in the creation of such important solutions for the integrity of the electoral process. Additionally, if the imposed changes are expected to be implemented during the current election cycle, they may seriously threaten the ability of the election administration to implement them, which may lead to additional problems in the implementation of elections, by causing legal uncertainty.
TI BiH noted that the prevention of abuse of public resources as stated in the High Representative’s decision does not include key forms of abuse through employment and public spending, while other relevant issues important for monitoring the behaviour of political subjects, independence of election administration and transparency and objectivity of the election process were not treated.
“Taking into account the nature of the changes that have been imposed, which do not fundamentally solve the key problems, the decision to impose them by the High Representative's decision becomes even more unclear,” TI BiH added.
“In addition, the announcements of the imposition and other changes to the Election Law and the Federation (FBiH) entity’s Constitution, which would fundamentally threaten the rights of citizens in BiH and benefit ethno-nationalist policies, only unnecessarily opened up space for destabilization, creating tensions in the already tense political situation in BiH,” the organisation said.
They stressed that this is contrary to the very role originally assigned to the institution of the High Representative, and seriously calls into question the credibility and validity of the existence of the Office of the High Representative as an institution, given that it becomes part of the problem, and not the solution, for issues of utmost importance to the citizens of BiH.