Source: Borba

The Commissioner for Information of Public Importance Mr. Rodoljub Sabic, requested of the Republic Electoral Commission (RIK) to put in the public domain reports on the sources, amount and structure of funding for campaigning for the presidential elections held at the beginning of the year and to submit them to the requesters.  

I repeated several times that this information has to be accessible to the public, because it is, intrinsically, information of utmost public importance. This is not my arbitrary attitude, but something that stems directly from the law, said Mr. `Sabic to Beta agency, confirming that he issued a binding decision for the Republic Electoral Commission.

According to Mr. `Sabic, the Republic Electoral Commission did not justify its denial of access to information by purported unavailability of it; instead, it explained it needed to verify the information stated in those reports.

I do not think that the right of the Republic Electoral Commission to check these reports is questioned in any way by my decision, but those reports have already been written, they contain information backed by the persons who submitted them and cannot be changed, added Sabic.

Explaining that he has also been governed by the right of the public to know what is written in the reports recently when he requested of RTS and RTV Studio B to publicize the information on the presidential election campaign costs, the Commissioner reminded that both TV stations did this, and that nothing jeopardized the right of the Republic Electoral Commission to check the information.

There are many reasons why all public authorities should try to make these and similar information as available as possible to the public. In the case of elections, it is always about disposal of huge financial funds, said Sabic.

Stating that the current elections for Members of the Parliament will cost EUR 65,000 only from budget resources for each of 250 MP's, Sabic said the public interest for all the information and consequences of disposal of such considerable resources was natural and legitimate.

According to Mr. Sabic dispersing with the suspicion of legality of the election campaign financing is the first assumption for trust in the participants of the election process, and within this context, the fact that we have another important election this year and the public does not have relevant information on the financing of the previous election is certainly not acceptable.

Presidential elections were held on 20 January and 3 February (run-off), but financial reports of the participants are still unavailable for the public. The non-governmental organization Transparency Serbia requested help the Commissioner Sabic after the Republic Electoral Commission failed to provide requested information to it.