Civic Initiatives’ comments on the Draft Law on Referendum and People’s Initiative

Belgrade, November 26, 2019

Civic Initiatives participated in the round table in Belgrade, organized by the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, where the Draft Law on Referendum and People’s Initiative was presented. Civic Initiatives presented proposals and solutions, the implementation of which would improve the quality of the presented law.

Bearing in mind that the current law dates back to 1994, passing a new law is necessary, first of all, in order to align with the Constitution of 2006, but also to answer a number of questions that remain undefined or poorly regulated by the current law. The overall assessment of the presented Draft Law is that it is a step in the right direction, but that some solutions, to some extent, restrict the freedom of direct participation of citizens in decision-making.

Although the presented draft has weaknesses, public debates organized in Nis, Novi Sad and Belgrade provided the voice of relevant civil society organizations, representatives of the professional public and political organizations who came up with a number of useful proposals and ideas. If these proposals become adopted, Serbia will get a law that regulates this area in accordance with European standards. On the other hand, if the ministry ignores the proposals, the law will remain qualitatively imbalanced and in practice its implementation will largely depend on the political will and arbitrary decisions of individuals.