The final round, of the first phase, of the European Parliament facilitated Inter-Party Dialogue was held on 12 and 13 December in the National Assembly of Serbia. It took-stock of the achievements since November’s 2nd Inter-Party Dialogue (IPD) and called for urgent final steps to fulfill the commitments (in the annexed “Implementation Table”) to improve the conditions for holding 2020 Parliamentary Elections.
The Dialogue welcomed steps taken in the short timeframe of three rounds of Dialogue. However, they insisted that the follow-up and concrete implementation of these commitments must be the focus between now and the beginning of the election campaign in order to deliver tangible improvements on the ground, particularly in the area of freedom of the media and on the role of the regulation of the public broadcasters.
Although there has been progress in the improvement of the work of the Republic Electoral Commission (REC), turning commitments into concrete deliverables according to a strict timeline is still needed in the following key areas:
- improving the work of the Electronic Media Regulator (REM) by appointing “3+2” new REM Members to be confirmed in a vote by the end of the year.
- adoption of a new Regulation for the public broadcasters and its effective implementation,
- creation of the Supervisory Board in the Parliament and assure a transparent, timely and impartial work under its competences well before elections,
- implementation of the new amendments of the relevant laws for improving the electoral conditions in practice.
All the announced progress and shortfalls remain dully noted in an updated “Implementation Table” which is available for the public to consult and represents a part of the Conclusions of the Dialogue. The 3rd Dialogue introduced a strict timeline for the implementation of each outstanding commitment. It is imperative that this timeline is respected and that all commitments are implemented in full before the election campaign in order for all stakeholders, especially Serbia’s citizens, to have greater confidence in the integrity of the electoral framework.
We have also had a discussion on the possibility, in full respect of the Constitution of Serbia, of holding the elections as late as possible, not in March, at a date to be determined by the President of the Republic. This will give time for all the commitments to be implemented and for all stakeholders, especially the people of Serbia, to feel the full effects of the improvements in the electoral conditions.
The Dialogue underlined the need to continue to monitor the implementation of all the commitments, according to the timelines set out in the Implementation Table. As such, the Dialogue welcomed the European Parliament Facilitator’s offer to continue to monitor progress on the implementation and noted their willingness to provide any further support should it be requested by the National Assembly.