Tomorrow the campaign for the 2018 General Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina will officially start. Elections are a key pillar of democracy. In October, the citizens of BiH will exercise their right to make political choices about the future.
In spite of progress under the reform agenda, challenges persist. BiH needs a discussion and focus on the continued much needed reforms; this is something citizens and youth in BiH rightfully expect. European integration offers a model for this development and the country has chosen this path.
Candidates and political parties owe it to those citizens to discuss issues of real importance during the campaign. Political leaders at all levels should refrain from negative, divisive and irresponsible rhetoric. This will only harm the country and its citizens. All politicians bear the responsibility to create an atmosphere of dialogue and tolerance. Media freedom and pluralism are crucial elements for an open and free democratic debate.
Serious challenges await the elected authorities at all levels. They will have to be addressed after the elections and deserve the appropriate attention already during the election campaign. Such issues include improving the rule of law, tackling corruption, job creation, ensuring better public services and working to make BiH a country where citizens can realize their full potential.
The relevant domestic authorities, institutions, political parties and candidates must ensure the integrity of the election process and the security and safety of the poll. Elections must be free and fair. International and domestic election observers have an important role to play in this respect; they should be assisted in performing their duties.
The EU Delegation to BiH and EUSR call on candidates and political leaders to act with the best for BiH on their minds. Focus on BiH’s and citizens’ real needs! We call on all citizens to exercise their democratic right and cast their vote on 7 October.