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CEPPS in Serbia

CEPPS began working in Serbia in 2002, supporting its democratic transition by establishing more representative, participatory, transparent and accountable political and electoral processes.
CEPPS Overarching Goals:

CEPPS seeks to increase government transparency, accountability, and responsiveness to citizens by advancing the work of diverse political parties and movements, civil society organizations (CSOs), parliamentary actors, election authorities, and government institutions.

CEPPS Approach:

To support this overarching goal, CEPPS focuses on promoting more responsive and inclusive political parties. CEPPS coaches parties and movements to build internal processes to better hear and respond to citizen priorities, and adopt more inclusive practices. It helps to build a new generation of skilled political leaders and develop party structures at the local level. CEPPS also improves the ability of political parties to organize party operations to engage citizens through strategic communications planning and tools, including digital literacy initiatives and training to develop strong messages that resonate with citizens. CEPPS also works with parliament to encourage multi-party discussion of salient issue areas, and to improve communication with citizens.  

Additionally, CEPPS provides capacity support to the Republic Electoral Commission (RIK) and the Anti-Corruption Agency of Serbia (ACAS) so they are able to fulfill their mandates in accordance with the law and international best practices. To promote accountability and public awareness, CEPPS also delivers assistance to local civil society and media to build their capacity to monitor, report and advocate on the abuse of state resources, political financing, election observation, election dispute resolution, and advocacy for improvements to electoral processes. 

CEPPS Key Achievements in Serbia:

CEPPS strengthens political pluralism by improving cross-party cooperation, and the capacity of political parties to respond to citizens’ needs, including to the unique needs of underrepresented communities: 

  • Launched the Advanced Leadership in Politics Institute (ALPI), a multi-party group of 24 politically active young people 
  • Trained more than 250 party members and elected officials from 8 parties on topics such as strategic communications, voter targeting, party administration and organizing, and other crucial skills for running a competitive political party. 
  • Helped political party or movement partners to advance their communications plans, establish new communications with party members, and implement stronger external messaging on the basis of CEPPS guidance 
  • Supported members of underrepresented communities such as women, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQI community, and ethnic minorities to meaningfully participate in politics and to assume leadership roles in government, political parties and civil society. CEPPS partners have successfully advocated for the introduction of a gender quota on electoral lists, established a Pride Week, and advanced the work of institutions such as National Minority Councils and local level Gender Equality Commissions. This has included the facilitation of a global woman’s conference that brought together women MPs, entrepreneurs, executives and the former PM of Slovakia, Iveta Radicova and IRI board member, Tami Longaberger, leading to ongoing work with women entrepreneurs 
  • Brought together a multi-party group of 12 MPs with business leaders to understand proposed reforms better and develop amendments to legislation. This led to more than 100 amendments to Labor Law, Law on Investments, Law on Land Use, etc. being passed into law. 

CEPPS assistgovernment and non-government efforts to maintain the quality and security of electoral processes. 

  • Guided the launch of public debates among electoral contestants. 
  • Delivered targeted assistance to the Republic Electoral Commission (RIK) in preparation of the 2020 parliamentary elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, focused on safeguarding the elections as well as the health and safety of voters and poll workers in line with public health standards. 
  • Trained the Anti-Corruption Agency of Serbia (ACAS) on political finance oversight and the observation of election campaigns to track violations, which informed the institution’s efforts during the 2020 parliamentary elections. 
  • Provided support to the Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA) to improve their advocacy around Serbia’s electoral system, to observe electoral processes via deployment of 1700 observers in the 2020 parliamentary elections, and to help systematically identify potential irregularities, such as abuse of state resources 
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