The Open Parliament wishes to draw the public’s attention to the fact that the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, by quietly convening a session of the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues, without revealing the names of the candidates, plans to outline a proposal for a new Commissioner for Equality on Monday, November 23rd. Judging by the agenda of the upcoming session, which was published on the website of the Assembly, only one name will be presented before the Committee, at the proposal of an unknown number of parliamentary groups.
The Open Parliament wishes to remind that the position of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality has been vacant for more than six months, since the mandate of Brankica Janković expired in May this year. Instead of electing a new Commissioner by the end of August at the latest, in accordance with the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination, the election was first prevented by a several-month-long unreasonable postponement of the ruling majority to constitute the Assembly.
The procedure was then initiated overnight, without announcing the name of the candidate and the parliamentary group that proposed them, by which the Parliament closed the door to consultations and to the public’s involvement in the debate on the decisions it makes. The non-transparent conduct of the Parliament in the process of electing a new Commissioner for the Protection of Equality casts a shadow of doubt on the integrity of the process. On the other hand, this is another in a series of negative examples of Parliament’s attitude towards independent institutions, whose effective, professional and independent work should be one of the key pillars of the National Assembly in overseeing the executive branch.
We remind you that the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality has the role of preventing all forms of discrimination and to protect and promote the equal position of every individual in all areas of society.