New bill will ban domestic violence convictions from running in local elections

NEWS 28.01.2021 11:08
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The Justice Ministry plans to change the Local Elections Act before May's polls so that those convicted of domestic violence cannot run. Another change will introduce a provision automatically ending the term of local government heads after they cease being residents of the local government unit they lead, Vecernji List daily reported on Thursday, citing ministry sources.

On Tuesday, the ministry put to public consultation a form to assess the changes with the aim, among other things, to specify a provision under which a term in office ends when the holder cancels their residence in the local government unit they head.

The ministry was prompted to specify existing provisions by a Split Administrative Court decision which quashed a ministry decision under which the term of Lovrec municipal head Anita Nosic of the HDZ party ended when she cancelled her residence in Lovrec and registered in Zagreb in order to buy a government-subsidised flat.

The ministry also plans to expand the scope of criminal acts to prevent those convicted of them from running in local elections. This will pertain to those convicted of domestic violence and those sentenced for crimes against children to more than six months in prison, regardless of whether the sentence is suspended.

Also, the ban on running for those convicted of rape will be defined in line with the Criminal Code amendments which entered into force on 1 January 2020, under which non-consensual sex is also classified as rape.

Although these amendments should enter into force shortly before local elections in May, the Justice Ministry says they are not contrary to Venice Commission recommendations under which electoral rules should not be changed in an election year, Vecernji List said.

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