Taking note of the fact that the Republic Electoral Commission of Serbia had resumed preparations for local elections rescheduled for 21 June, the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Anders Knape, expressed his confidence in the state authorities to organise democratic elections, despite the ongoing COVID19 crisis. “I trust in Serbia’s capacity to amplify good practices in the days leading up to the E-Day and guarantee that the ballot will be organised fully in line with international standards for free and fair elections, also in difficult times” he stated.
“While recognising that holding elections in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic poses significant challenges to ensuring the health of voters and poll workers, we at the Congress stress the critical role of upholding the basic democratic rights to vote and to get elected at the local and regional levels,” he underlined. “Health protection measures, such as social distancing or special voting arrangements for vulnerable people, need to be in balance with the key principles of democratic elections, primarily universal, equal, free and secret suffrage,” Mr Knape concluded.
Against the backdrop of the current crisis, the Congress is not in a position to deploy an observer delegation but will ensure continued dialogue with the Serbian authorities as well as cooperation for the implementation of the European principles of territorial self-governance and democracy.