Following the disclosure of recordings from the wiretapped conversations related to the local elections in 2013 by the opposition yesterday (March 6, 2015), it becomes even clearer how electoral processes in the country are conducted. The latest findings are another bitter confirmation of the numerous public appearances and elections monitoring reports of CIVIL – Center for Freedom. Therefore, we need to remind the national and international public of our elections monitoring reports in 2013 and 2014, as well as to remind all institutions and individuals who had and still have the authority and obligation to react: they did not respond to our findings on serious violations of voting rights, huge manipulations and abuse of the Constitution.
More precisely, senior government officials, including the Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska, media defenders of the government such as the news portal of kurir.mk and many others, have publicly condemned the work of CIVIL and other organizations who have helped us in identifying, analyzing and public disclosure of the facts, they publicly labeled the representatives of the organization, issued threats and pressures of various kinds, and encouraged lynching of critics.
Despite pressures and threats, CIVIL kept on fulfilling its societal role and objective, and publicly presented all findings on the unscrupulous and large-scale abuse of institutions in an enormous electoral manipulation and fraud during the local elections in 2013, and during the presidential and early parliamentary elections in 2014.
After the disclosure of the wiretapped conversations between government officials, it has become quite clear why elections observers of CIVIL faced so many obstacles in the field, while following the leads, indications and information that came from their investigations and from citizens who called CIVIL to inform about serious electoral irregularities. Yet, CIVIL teams, thanks to their commitment, dedication and professionalism, successfully exposed hundreds of cases of electoral fraud and violations of voting rights and human rights and freedoms in general.
CIVIL held numerous press conferences and presented, in details, numerous irregularities, abuses and manipulations during the election campaign, the days of voting in the days after the elections. From these public presentations and final reports of CIVIL, the conclusion is that the elections in 2013 and 2014 are illegitimate, that the institutions are completely politicized, and media are controlled and under terrible pressure.
CIVIL - Center for Freedom expresses its indignation and utter condemnation of those responsible for this longstanding practice and once again directs the public to consider the reports, analyzes and recommendations published in 2013 and 2014.
In our public appearances and in the final reports, we emphasize the facts and conclusions that:
- Institutions, media and all public resources at national and local level have been put in a function of the parties in power and have been misused to their ultimate limits in an unscrupulous, unconstitutional and illegal crackdown on political opponents and intellectuals, organizations and media.
- The Republic of Macedonia is in a state of an ongoing election campaign, regardless of whether it is a formal election process or not. Citizens of this country live in uncertainty and under constant pressure and threats from 2008 onwards, and the culmination of these conditions can be seen during the last electoral processes in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Macedonia is in a state of constant fear and violation of fundamental human rights. The foundations of democracy and the rule of law are rooted out.
- Although small and with limited resources, the observation teams of CIVIL, in cooperation with outspoken citizens, have discovered thousands of phantom voters in a very short period of time, and on the elections days they revealed numerous cases of voters with multiple identities (ID cards and passports).
- The ruling VMRO-DPMNE conducted what we called the Operation Pustec (municipality of ethnic Macedonians in Albania). Operation that was as illegal as humiliating: dragging voters from Pustec that voted in several municipalities in the country. Most dramatic display of this operation happened during the elections days in the municipality of Centar in the city of Skopje, the only municipality where the Operation Pustec collapsed. Voters from Pustec were spotted and documented also during the elections in 2014.
- Voters buying ranged from the most miserable payment of 500 MKD (€ 7.-) per vote and payment of pending bills of the poor and vulnerable groups to promises for employment, job promotions and subsidies. CIVIL revealed manipulations and blackmail even with social assistance and health services. We discovered a number of cases about promises only about uplifting the positions of individuals on waiting lists for work, public services and benefits, which is another illustration of the grotesque nature and of the scale of manipulations.
In 2013 ii 2014, CIVIL, as an organization with official accreditation for observation issued by the State Electoral Commission, publicly presented all these and many other harsh systemic maladies that put the legitimacy of the election under serious doubt. We repeat: The institutions have not responded in no other way than by attacks, pressure and labeling of CIVIL, including personal offences and pressure on the organization's chairperson, Jabir Deralla.
This is not all. CIVIL documented and published all other gross abuses and lawlessness in recent years in their election observation reports, and numerous articles in written or video, as well as reports on the situation of human rights and freedoms in the country.
We remain committed and consistent to the efforts to defend human rights and freedoms in the Republic of Macedonia. We urge all citizens to speak up and loudly demand their rights and freedoms guaranteed by the country’s Constitution and by international standards.
CIVIL - Center for Freedom
LINK to the publications of CIVIL