Welcoming the fact that, for the first time in over a decade, citizens of the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) will be able to vote at the local level on 20 December 2020, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe conducted a remote observation procedure ahead of Sunday’s elections, further to an invitation from the country's authorities.
Following online meetings of the Congress Delegation held on 17 December with the different interlocutors in Sarajevo and Mostar including Mr Valentin Inzko, High Representative for BiH, Mr Željko Bakalar, Chairman of the Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina, representatives of domestic NGOs as well as political parties, notably Mr Arman Zalihić, SDP of BiH in Mostar, Mr Salem Marić, SDA Mostar and Mr Velibor Milivojević, SNSD and SDS coalition "Ostajte ovdje - Zajedno za naš Mostar" (Stay here - together for our Mostar), Stewart Dickson (United Kingdom, ILDG), Spokesperson on local and regional elections, underlined the positive atmosphere of the briefings: “All our interlocutors expressed hope and confidence that the vote on Sunday may bring the long expected change in the right direction, both in terms of pragmatic solutions for the local population and the strengthening of cohabitation in Mostar, a city which has been emblematic of multi-ethnicity in the past.”
The Congress Delegation also noted the magnitude of this milestone election, particularly for young people, since many of them will be voting at the local level for the first time in their lives. “We share confidence with the international community and with local stakeholders that the upcoming election in Mostar will be a fair and free competition. We hope that further to this historic vote, Mostar will finally have elected representatives and a mayor of a united city, in order to respond to the needs of the people”, Mr Dickson concluded.