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The work of temporary bodies during the election campaign must be transparent

Transparency Serbia has indicated to the presidents and members of temporary working bodies in 65 cities and municipalities that they have an obligation to ensure the publicity of their work by allowing journalists to attend the sessions and publishing the explanations for the decisions they make.

Based on the Law on Local Self-Government, the temporary working bodies "perform current and urgent tasks" within the competence of the assembly, the mayor/president of the municipality and the council. Valid statutes, rules of procedure, or other appropriate special acts regulate publicity of the work of these bodies.

The statutes and rules of procedure governing the work of all 65 dissolved assemblies provide for holding sessions open to the public and the media.

According to the data available to TS, out of 65 municipalities and cities, 46 council sessions were open to the public or the media, 10 were not, and there is no data for nine.

Therefore, when adopting the rules of procedure on the work of temporary bodies, it should be taken into account that the level of publicity of their work must not be lower than the level of publicity of the work of assemblies and councils.

TS also recommended that all decisions made by the temporary working body and accompanying materials (proposed decision with explanation, minutes) be published not only in official gazettes but also on the same day on the internet presentation of the local self-government unit. In this way, it would be possible to determine whether it is really about performing current and urgent tasks for which the temporary authorities are the only ones authorized.

Finally, since Transparency Serbia monitors the activities of public officials during the election campaign, as well as the occurrence of the "official campaign", we pointed out the legal obligations and prohibitions they have as public officials, among which is the ban on using public resources available to them for carrying out political activities.

TS invited them to refrain from using public office to provide additional promotion of the political parties they represent during the election campaign by organizing and participating in promotional activities as a member of the temporary body.