De OVSE en verkiezingen in Bosnie-Herzegovina

| Geen reacties

Op 1 oktober zijn er verkiezingen in Bosnie-Herzegovina. De OVSE heeft altijd een belangrijke rol gespeeld in het organiseren van de verkiezingen in dit land.
De afgelopen dagen heb ik veel briefings gegeven aan allerlei waarnemers, waaronder de waarnemers van de parlementaire assemblee van de raad van Europa. Het was goed om oude bekenden weer te zien.

Hieronder zal ik kort aangeven wat de rol van de OVSE is in het verkiezingsproces.

The OSCE Mission in Bosnia Herzegovina was established under the General Framework Agreement for Peace, better known as the "Dayton Agreement", in late 1995. This peace agreement stopped the war but also provided mandates for international organisations, including our own, which are operating in this country. From its inception, the Mission's main goal has been to equip the country with functioning democratic institutions, respectful of democratic principles, the rule of law, and commonly accepted standards of human rights. All these tasks form an important element of Dayton's broad goals of stabilization, democratization, and peace implementation.

In implementing our programmes this Mission relies on its extensive field network of 23 field offices and four regional centres, which are located in every part and corner of the country. Amongst all international organisations operating today in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the OSCE has the largest field presence with 650 staff, which enables daily contacts with domestic officials.

By Dayton, the OSCE was tasked to work in primarily three areas-elections, human rights, and regional military stabilisation. The Mission was mandated, among other things, to prepare, conduct and supervise elections in this country until an election law was adopted. At the beginning, elections took prominence and consumed the lion's share of Mission's resources and manpower. The OSCE actually ran the first post-war elections in 1996. From 1996 to 2000 the OSCE ran six more elections in this country.

In 2001, the domestic Election Law was adopted and a permanent Election Commission replaced the Provisional Election Commission in November 2001. This Election Commission, however, retained international presence, and was at the beginning comprised of three internationals and four nationals. The 2002 general elections demonstrated that the Election Commission developed into a well functioning body and the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina closed down its Elections Department in December 2002. This sent a clear signal that the responsibility of the future elections process must rest with the officials and citizens of this country.

The Mission still retained two permanent seats on the Election Commission and the Office of the High Representative occupied the third international seat. They both only acted in an advisory capacity, but even these responsibilities came to an end in June 2005, when all international members officially withdraw from it. With this, the Election Commission became a fully national body. However, at the request of the members of the Commission, the OSCE Mission and OHR retained their advisory presence until these general elections.

There are over two million seven hundred and thirty thousand voters (2.736.886) registered for these elections. The overall number of voters increased for over 15 percent (over 410.000 voters) when compared to the last elections in 2004. The introduction of a new registration system of voters, which changed from active to passive one, greatly contributed to this increased number. The system for personal identification data (CIPS) proved to be a useful solution for producing an accurate and up-to-date voters' list as all citizens at age of 18 and older are at the same time registered as voters and their names consequently appear in the Central Voters' Register.

Displaced persons, who were under every previous election given special voting rights, retained these for the forthcoming elections as well. This special category of voters again have a right to chose their voting option, which means that they can vote either for their pre-war municipality (in person or in absentia) or for the municipality where they currently reside. Only the registration of out of country voters remains active.

As far as the other main players in this game, the political parties and voters, I would conclude that the political campaign was, rather disappointingly, colored by nationalistic rhetoric. The Central Election Commission has, within its overall responsibility for organizing and overseeing the conduct of elections, also the responsibility to monitor and sanction the conduct of the parties and candidates competing. There was quite some discussion in public during this election campaign about what represents the hate or inflammatory speech, and if and when the Central Election Commission should act.

At the end, there were no radical decisions taken, nor serious sanctions undertaken, although some serious concerns have been voiced. The sharp campaign with nationalistic undertones however could potentially make the post-election coalition building more difficult. We can only hope that citizens realized the importance of these elections, and that the turn out on the Election Day will be significant. But at the end, it always is up to the politicians to convince what kind of government they can offer, and to citizens to elect the representatives they trust could deliver.

On the first of October, voters in Bosnia and Herzegovina will elect representatives to all three levels of governance: state, entity and cantonal level. They will also cast their ballots for the three-member State Presidency. A total of 56 political parties, coalitions, and independent candidates or their lists have been certified to stand in the elections. The first preliminary results are expected to be announced by the Central Election Commission already at midnight of the Election Day, but it will take some time before the new government is in place.

These general elections are of great significance for this country. They are important from the technical point of view, as this will be the first general elections conducted and organised solely by national authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There have also been a few changes introduced to the election legislation, and these elections will also prove their quality.

These elections are also politically rather important. Bosnia and Herzegovina achieved a significant step forward when it started negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union. This represents a remarkable progress but is also only a start of a longer process. Expectations, especially amongst ordinary citizens, about the European integration process are mostly related to better economic situation. Joining European Union, however, means mostly undertaking quite often painful reforms, for which political courage is needed.

Another very important issue which this country's parliament will have to work on will be changes to the Constitution. The failure of the process in the fist half of the year showed that there are serious divisions amongst politicians when it comes to changing what was signed at Dayton. However, practice showed that changes are needed, if the country is to move forward politically and economically. This is ultimately in the interest of all citizens of this country.

Laat een reactie achter

Dagboek Archief

Aangedreven door Movable Type 4.38