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Summarized Report on Transparency Serbia’s work in 2017

One more election campaign in an incomplete legal framework

Transparency Serbia (Official chapter of Transparency International), on the occasion of calling for presidential elections on 2 June 2017, points out that this is yet another electoral process in Serbia that begun without resolving controversial issues from the past. Regulations that regulate election campaign and its financing are not properly harmonized and amended, even in cases when such changes were envisaged by the Government's action plans.

Only since today up to the election day, proponents of the candidates will have to keep records of all election campaign costs and to be accountable for the sources of financing of their commercials, videos, public events and other promotional activities. According to the Law on Financing of Political Activities, legal restrictions, rights and obligations of candidate proponents related to election campaign financing apply only to the period from calling of elections to election day. On the other hand, no other law limits "campaign before the campaign," except in regards to publication of paid ads on TV and radio stations. Instead of resolving this and all other controversial issues related to party financing by the end of 2014, as it was planned in the anti-corruption action plan from 2013, the Law on Financing of Political Activities was additionally set back by the end of this year - by introducing the possibility that the parliamentary parties can introduce budget money received for regular work in the election campaign, this possibility was already heavily used in the campaign in 2016

Transparency - Serbia considers as even bigger problem that nothing has been done so far that would limit the "official's campaign", in relation to which we have given concrete proposals for solutions. http:  Existing Article 29 of the Law on Anticorruption Agency, prohibits direct use of public resources for political activities (e.g. official travels by car to election conventions, it does not apply to officials who have permanent security). However, neither this nor any other law imposes limits to public officials to arrange meetings with representatives of other important countries during the election campaign, and plan their participation in popular events such as opening of schools, roads, hospitals and factories. Reporting from such events in the news program of media is worth more than any paid advertisment and therefore should be subjected to control, equal as money flow, which has not been the case so far. Related to this, we remind that this time the National Assembly, equally as in the past 16 years, failed to fulfill its legal obligation and to form Supervisory Committee that would monitor those aspects of the campaign for which no other state authority is competent.

Transparency - Serbia

Belgrade, 3 February 2017.