International representatives call voters to elect local leaders

International representatives call voters to elect local leaders

Sarajevo, September 30, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens will elect an new administration in their local communities on Sunday and everything is ready for this important event. Documents are already sent to local election commissions and candidates will conclude their campaigns today. At midnight, election silence will begin and all talks about politic will be sanctioned.

After a kind of “revolution” that RS politicians made with the referendum last week, international community representatives are calling citizens to vote in peace and for candidates who will bring them economic prosperity. Head of OSCE Mission to BiH, Jonathan Moore, encourages the eligible citizens to exercise their democratic right and duty, and vote in local elections.

“Mayors, members of municipal councils and city assemblies have very important responsibilities. Throughout BiH, we have seen how clever, energetic, and dedicated local officials can bring positive attention and prosperity for all. Living every day in the same communities with their fellow citizens, local officials must deal with practical issues and challenges. Voters should select the candidates best able to address the values, interests, and needs of their cities and municipalities”, Moore emphasizes.

In the statement to the media Moore said that, in line with OSCE mandate, the Mission will not observe the elections but will follow the situation throughout the country. He called citizens who have concerns about the conduct of the elections to address the Central Election Commission, municipal/city election commissions or the Appellate Division of the Court of BiH.

International community High representative in BiH, Valentin Inzko, emphasized the importance of economy and development of the country. Speaking on the 7th Austrian Central and Eastern European Economic Forum in Velden, two days before elections Inzko said that the political situation in BiH is challenging but the rewards for overcoming obstacles are great and the International Community is committed to helping citizens to overcome those obstacles.

He added that people in BiH want prosperity, security and integration into the European Union, “and politicians who would seek to stand in the way of that are like King Canute trying to hold back the tide”. In his message to citizens about upcoming elections, Inzko said that these election matters and are an opportunity for citizens to reflect on their current municipal leadership and those competing against them for office.

“Voters should make their decision based on who can meet their needs on the issues that mean most to them, whether that is playgrounds, streetlights, rubbish collection or anything else. As a voter myself, my choice at municipal elections has always been for hard-working, down-to-earth politicians and political parties who understand that we should live in times of cooperation and integration, not isolation. This is especially important in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and even more so in multi-ethnic, returnee communities. Bosniaks, Croats, Serbs and Others have a long history of mutual understanding, solidarity and cooperation. All groups did better when they worked together. Nationalism and division do not put food on the table”, Inzko emphasized.

EU Special Representative and head of EU Delegation to BiH, Lars Gunnar Wigemark, said that elections are an important democratic practice as well as a means of promoting public accountability.

“The European Union encourages all citizens to vote and support the parties and the candidates they feel will most effectively take up the issues that are close to them and their local communities.

I would like to reiterate the need for a democratic, credible and inclusive electoral process. Safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process itself, in line with international standards and best practices, is of utmost importance”, Wigemark says in his message.