OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

01/25/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/25/2019 05:11

OSCE/ODIHR final report on general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina recommends revising election legislation to ensure effective implementation

The final report by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on the 7 October general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina highlights the lack of proper follow-up to previous ODIHR election-related assessments and recommends a comprehensive review of legislation to prevent the abuse of public resources for campaign purposes.

The report, published on 25 January 2019, also recommends abolishing discriminatory ethnicity- and residency-based restrictions of the right to stand for elections, in line with OSCE commitments and other international obligations, as well as judgments of the European Court on Human Rights.

While acknowledging the overall efficiency of the election administration, the report encourages revising the way polling station commissions are formed, to ensure their impartiality. The report also recommends providing adequate resources to the Central Election Commission and strengthening recruitment and training methods to ensure the necessary professionalism of election management bodies.

The report encourages political parties to follow the law and refrain from exercising pressure on voters. It calls on the authorities to investigate allegations of electoral violations promptly, thoroughly and effectively, and to hold perpetrators accountable.

The report recommends a revision of voting procedures to fully guarantee the freedom and secrecy of voters' choices. It also notes a need to enhance voter education programmes, including to prevent family voting and irregular assisted voting, and encourages the authorities to ensure that polling stations are fully accessible for persons with disabilities.

The report calls for greater transparency and accountability of campaign finance and recommends specific bank accounts be used for all campaign finance activities. It further recommends introducing proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for financial violations.

For election day observation, ODIHR was joined by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.