Belgrade, October 7, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
The Protector of Citizens Saša Janković said he cannot confirm or deny his running in presidential election in 2017.
Beta agency reports that, according to Janković, he did not initiate the topic of running in presidential election, nor has he imposed it.
“As I’ve already said several times, I have not imposed or brought up the question of my candidacy, and I don’t have the right to answer yes or no at this point. I am the Protector of Citizens, and I’m doing my job at full capacity, and Serbia has its president who is also doing his job at full capacity “, said the Ombudsman.
Janković added that he cannot begin to understand the fact that some people who are officials as himself, speak of their running in presidential election.
“Even if I were to run in the election, I really should not speak of it at this moment, since it would instantly cast a shadow on what I’m doing now. Therefore, I wonder how some people serving in the role of minister or in some other role don’t realize the same issue, or may have recently begun to realize it”, said Janković.
He said that “he is not allowed to say no” to the candidacy, since each and every citizen of the Republic of Serbia who is of legal age has the right to vote and get elected.
“On the other hand, I am not allowed to say no, even if I didn’t want to run, or if I didn’t plan to run in the election, because the right to vote and the right to get elected are some of the fundamental political rights in Serbia. The Constitution gives that rights to every citizen of the Republic of Serbia who is of legal age, and I am assured that Serbia is the country in which those rights have not been called into question just yet”, said the Protector of Citizens.
Janković also stated he will not pander to “those who create campaigns, put on pressures and set-up constructions” thinking they can deter him from using his rights.
“I must not pander to them, even if I said that I believe I am not supposed to, or I don’t want to run, the same way as employers ask women whether they’ll use their right to maternity leave upon hiring them, and they must not do so”, added Janković.
Citizens do not know enough about their rights
According to him, Serbian citizens do not know enough about their rights, because the education system does not contain enough information on rights and obligations.
“We live in our society as isolated individuals, and our rights and obligations in the interaction with the state and other citizens are fundamental and most valuable things we have. Unfortunately, it seems to me that we still learn more of amoeba’s cell division, than of basic human rights and institutions that serve to help protect those rights”, said Janković.
He said that there is space for working with citizens on the local level, so they can familiarize themselves with their rights and institutions that can help them, but the citizens have to be interested.
“The citizens have to want to know their rights and means to exercise them, but they also have to be interested in functioning or non-functioning of institutions in front of which we exercise or protect our rights”, said Janković.
Janković pointed out that of 6,000 submitted complaints in the last year and 20,000 addresses, he – as the Protector of Citizens of the Republic of Serbia also had 3,000 control procedures, after which 80 percent of his recommendations were implemented.
“That means that the Protector of Citizens is not just a shoulder to cry on, but addressing him can really lead to many improvements in the functioning of various government bodies. That is the reason why the citizens should use their rights”, Janković said in Kraljevo, where he held his speech earlier tonight.