03/26/2024 OHR

Election Integrity Package – General Information

We are approaching another election but authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have not addressed numerous problems, concerns, and questions that arose in previous election cycles, as well as vast departures from international democratic standards that have been pointed out by international partners in the last 15 years.

Therefore, the High Representative has acknowledged the need to intervene, having in mind the lack of capability or will among domestic authorities to remedy serious shortcomings in the election process. Voters in BiH must be given an equal chance to take part in elections and they must be assured their vote will be adequately counted and respected in subsequent government formation. Election theft must be systematically prevented.

With this aim, and following numerous consultations with international partners, domestic bodies, political representatives, and non-government organisations, the High Representative has delivered a package of measures for bolstering election integrity in BiH.

This package tackles a range of different areas, the details of which can be found on the OHR website. In summary, the adopted amendments refer to the following:

  • Enhanced integrity and oversight of voting and vote counting, including increased security for handling election materials before and after voting, and professionalization of election committees.
  • Greater transparency in voter registration, particularly concerning absentee voters and refugees, as well as verification of election registry data.
  • Enhanced transparency and security throughout the election process, from beginning to end, involving electronic voter identification, video surveillance, and electronic ballot counting, among other measures.
  • Clearer protection of human and civic rights before, during, and after elections, including more precise procedures for resolving complaints, issuing sanctions, and improving gender equality.
  • Prevention of voter manipulation, including stricter measures against premature political promotion and fake news, along with greater transparency in campaign and media financing.
  • Smooth conduct of elections with timely provision of funds and improved definitions for competencies, integrity, and independence of the Central Election Commission.

Taking into consideration the scope of this package, as well as the short time left before the next elections, the said measures should be introduced gradually for the 2024 Municipal Elections in selected pilot areas in order for them to be tested and be ready for wide implementation for the 2026 General Elections.

Click here: Decision Enacting the Law on Amendments to the Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina