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Massive purge is undermining rule of law

Rule of law

Massive purge is undermining rule of law

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policyThe PolicyCenter (CPP, Centar za praktičnu politiku) calls on Serbian government, president and local authorities to immediately stop massive layoffs of state officials. According to a survey carried out by CPP, the government and the president have fired 1096 people, while local government in Novi Sad has fired 977 people and other 698 have been fired in Niš during the first eight months of their mandate. These data indicate a systematic layoff process affecting those who are not members of the ruling party, both at local and national level. The survey included only dismissals and suspensions, which were published on the Official Journal and Official papers.

Massive layoffs concern all sectors of State administration: directors of State companies, ambassadors, members of boards of governors and supervisory boards, directors of healthcare facilities, schools, centres for social work, museums, galleries, theatres, cultural centres, libraries, school boards and even workers of the women’s crisis centre in Niš or of the tapestry making workshop in Novi Sad.

According to regulations in force, the government must not necessarily justify layoffs and replacements. Nevertheless, unjustified and systematic layoffs and replacements reveal a lack of evaluation and show how decisions are based on party membership. This practice is consolidating the party-state system and undermining rule of law in Serbia. Violent and unjustified layoffs, combined with lack of evaluation of results raise party membership as the absolute principle in the administration of the State. At the same time, a message is sent to all fired and replaced officials: results of work are not a parameter, and it does not matter how you work, but it matters whether you are member of the ruling party or not.

In response to some layoffs, there have been strong reactions of many experts (such as Ksenija Radulović, Ana Stolić, Slobodan Gavrilović, Laslo Blašković…), but Serbian authorities did not respond. Ruling coalition parties publicly uphold party membership as the supreme principle of State administration’s work. Hundreds of party officials have replaced fired officials, but many of them have no skills or knowledge regarding the work they need to carry out.  Serbian government keeps on appointing state companies’ boards of directors, even though a new Law on state companies, which eliminates these institutions, has entered into force.

CPP warns upon the decay of the already fragile Serbian state administration system, which is going on behind the scenes of Kosovo negotiations and spectacular captures of tycoons. Consequences of undermining rule of law will be far-reaching and difficult to overcome.

For more information please contact Dragan Popović via e-mail at dragan@policycenter.info or by phone at +381 63 339 344.

 

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