The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) published its survey findings today following a state-wide survey on citizens’ perception of elections in BiH.
The survey aimed to identify how citizens experience and understand the electoral process, their views on the importance of voting and their voting patterns, to what degree they participate in politics, and generally how citizens perceive election integrity in BiH.
The survey reveals a low-level of public trust in the integrity and fairness of election processes and institutions, as well as a high number of voters who have directly experienced electoral fraud.
Over half of respondents reported that they voted in most elections, while every fourth person reported voting “sometimes”. Every fourth respondent was offered money to vote for a party or a candidate and over a fifth of respondents experienced someone telling them who to vote for at the polling station. Only 23 per cent of respondents felt that elections in BiH are conducted in a fair or mostly fair manner.
“Unfortunately, the expressed lack of citizen trust in the BiH electoral process is not a surprise. Recent amendments to the BiH Election Law will improve election integrity, as will the Mission’s broader efforts to assist the CEC and advocate for further reforms. Most importantly, the people of this country have the power to improve the process by exercising their right to vote and demanding change” said Dr. Susan Penksa, Acting Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH.
The survey indicated that further changes to relevant laws and regulations are necessary to improve citizens’ trust in the electoral process, as over 60 per cent of respondents are in favor of changes to the BiH Election Law.
The OSCE Mission to BiH, in co-operation with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), will continue to support relevant institutions, particularly the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH and the BiH Central Election Commission, in their efforts to improve the electoral legislation and practices in accordance with international standards and in the best interest of citizens and democracy in BiH.