Thursday, 10 March 2022

Election Campaign Supervisory Board Press Release and Proposed Measures to Ensure Candidate Equality in Programme Presentation

At a sitting held on 10 March 2022, the Election Campaign Supervisory Board adopted a Proposal of Measures to ensure candidate equality in the presentation of their programmes and forwarded to the participants in the election process proposals concerning the content of the pre-election campaign.

Namely, for years in our country it has been a practice that the pre-election appearances of the representatives of the submitters of electoral lists for elections at different levels mainly consist of repeating political slogans or presenting only those programme elements they consider conspicuous and certain to garner support. Political shows in general, including pre-election ones, often have a "confrontational" character and the participants seem to believe that their performance is all the more successful the more they prove to be better skilled in shouting at rivals or even exchanging insults.

The Supervisory Board believes not only that such a practice is not good, but that the campaign participants should, in addition to presenting the candidates, present the entirety of their election programmes to the voters, while the media, especially public media services, are obliged to enable this, that is to organise the pre-election shows in such a manner as to make sure that the candidates and electoral lists submitters’ election programmes are presented in the best and most complete way.

Presenting the entire election programme of the submitters of electoral lists is an important element of suffrage, both active and passive, as guaranteed by Article 52 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, and is closely linked to the purpose and meaning of elections. Namely, MPs are elected to participate in the exercise of power, namely the legislative and control powers of the National Assembly, and the parliamentary majority also acquires the ability to exercise executive power. An integral part of the citizens’ active suffrage is their right to know in advance, before giving their vote to one of the submitters of the electoral lists, how each of them intends to act in each of the segments of power if they find themselves in a position to exercise power, in the capacity of either parliamentary majority or minority. This right bears with it the correlative obligation of the representatives of the submitters of electoral lists to present their election programmes in their entirety, which is a component part of passive suffrage.

The Supervisory Board believes that the programmes of the submitters of electoral lists are the central content that has to be presented in the election campaign and that adequate and equal presentation of these programmes is an important element of respecting and exercising both active and passive suffrage.

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