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Abolish the obligation to verify signatures for the People's Initiative, not just fees

The proposal for amending the Law on Referendum and People's Initiative, which the Assembly will decide on today, based on the Government's proposal and after the citizens' protest, contains a decision that the costs of signature verification for the People's Initiative will not be charged. The Government proposed a solution according to which the signatures of citizens for the People's Initiative would not be verified by notaries but by municipal administrations. In that way, the problem of costs is solved, which, in the case of a people's initiative for the adoption or amendment of the law, would amount to around 10,000 euros.

However, the proponents did not foresee a genuine possibility of another problem. Collecting signatures for a people's initiative is usually done in several locations in cities and not in the municipal premises, so the presence of municipal certifiers should be ensured at all these locations. It is quite certain that in some situations, local self-governments will not be able or will not want to meet the organizers of the People's Initiative and ensure the all-day presence of employees in places where signatures of support are collected. In order not to disturb the work of local self-governments and limit the realization of citizens' constitutional right to the People's Initiative, Transparency Serbia proposed that the obligation to certify signatures be abolished entirely, and we gave the same proposal during the public debate.

We especially emphasize that in the previous Law on Referendum, this obligation did not exist at all and that it is essentially unnecessary - the Assembly will in each case decide on the People's Initiative on the basis of its content and not based on the fact whether all data from the personal documents of the signatories of the initiative are entered correctly, which the certifiers should confirm. In addition, the legal solution discriminates between citizens who give signatures electronically – when signature verification is not required – and those who do not have an ID card in a form that does not allow electronic signing. TS submitted this proposal to all parliamentary groups and the Government, the Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government, and the Republic Secretariat for Legislation.