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Violations marked the introduction to local elections

Information about the fact that the leaders of around 70 cities and municipalities submitted their resignations – meaning their mandate ended – cannot be found on the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption website.

It means that the assemblies of these cities and municipalities violated the legal obligation. An even bigger problem is that there is no clear definition of "ongoing and urgent work" that the resigning mayors and the temporary authorities that will soon replace them can perform. It opens up a wide area for running a funcionary campaign.

The citizens of Serbia do not yet know for a fact in which municipalities there will be early local elections after the late September resignation of mayors and presidents. The speculations that about 70 LSGs are in question are based only on media reports. Based on the Law on Local Self-Government and the statute, the mayor's mandate ends at the moment of resignation. Still, there is no prescribed obligation to publish such information, but only that the presidents of local assemblies should inform councillors about it at the first following session. In practice, parliamentary sessions are generally not even scheduled afterwards; instead, they are waiting for the expiration of the 30 days, after which it is possible to call early elections.

On the other hand, based on the Law on Prevention of Corruption, there is undoubtedly an obligation for the body that elects the official (in this case, the city or municipality assembly) to notify the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption within 15 days of the termination of the mandate. For missing that deadline, a fine of 100 to 150 thousand dinars is prescribed for the responsible person. Based on the response that Transparency Serbia received from the Agency[1], the submitted information on the termination of office was entered, but by checking the officials' register[2], it is evident that there is not a single local self-government leader on the list of officials whose mandate ended during September and October.

Based on the law, mayors and presidents of municipalities who have resigned continue to perform their duties until new ones are elected, that is, until a temporary authority is appointed. Still, it does not change the fact that their mandate has ended. Upon the mayor's resignation, the mandate of their deputies and the members of the city and municipal councils ends by force of law. They are now acting officers who can only perform ongoing and urgent tasks. However, what is considered ongoing and urgent work is not prescribed, and the same problem occurs with the authorization of temporary authorities. Therefore, it can be expected that a large number of promotional activities will be included under "current and urgent tasks" during the upcoming election campaign, which TS will monitor as part of the monitoring of the functionary campaign.