BiH: OSCE calls Foča and Travnik citizens to the polls on Sunday

BiH: OSCE calls Foča and Travnik citizens to the polls on Sunday

The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina reminds that on 11 April 2021, the citizens of Travnik and Foča in the Federation of BiH municipality will vote again to elect their mayors. The Central Election Commission BiH ordered a by-election following the deaths of formerly elected mayors Mirsad Peco and Esed Radeljaš.

Even in these sad circumstances, says the OSCE Mission, the elections are an important cornerstone of a democracy. „We hope that all eligible voters will use this opportunity to strengthen democracy in BiH by exercising their right to vote for the candidates they believe can best serve the interests of their communities“.  In this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic, they urge all voters to protect both themselves and the polling station workers by wearing masks and respecting all protective measures while voting.

„We welcome and support the efforts of the Central Election Commission (CEC) to ensure full transparency in its work and to identify and respond to possible attempts of election fraud. Citizens should report any cases of suspected fraud to the CEC and relevant law enforcement authorities. Election observers, both independent and from political parties, should be allowed to perform their duties without hindrance. This is a fundamental safeguard for the integrity of elections, and we welcome the engagement of the ‘Pod Lupom’ Coalition, which announced the deployment of independent observers at all polling stations in both locations,“ the Mission notes in a press release.

OSCE also welcomed the measures adopted by the CEC to ensure that those with COVID-19 have an opportunity to vote with the help of a special mobile team.

„We urge authorities to provide the necessary personal protective equipment to all election personnel and to ensure all protective measures are respected in the polling stations.  In cases where schools are used as polling stations, authorities should ensure that disinfection takes place immediately after voting is completed. It is important that children and school staff in the country are able to resume their activities without undue health risks. We call on all political parties and candidates to uphold the principles of free and fair elections, show respect both for their competitors and for voters before, during and after the elections and accept officially-confirmed electoral results,“ concludes press release.

The OSCE Mission to BiH wishes all citizens of Travnik and Foča (FBiH) a safe and peaceful election day, which contributes to a stronger and more prosperous future. /ibna