Preliminary report of Civil at 20:35
Numerous irregularities, incidents, tensions and pressures defined the second round of the ballot today, thus, influencing the outcome of the elections. According the preliminary assessment of Civil, one cannot say that the local elections this year were free and non-violent. Structural violence was present in the period before the elections and throughout the whole election period.
Yet again, on the polling day of the second round of the Local Elections 2013, observers and activists of Civil's prevention working groups have registered numerous cases of irregularities and incidents in a great number of municipalities that held a run-off elections or revote. The following are part of the reports received in the office of Civil today.
Pustec in Skopje
The Municipality Center was under considerable tensions in the late afternoon hours, before closing of the polling units. According to reports of the observers and many calls received from female and male citizens; citizens from Pustec (Albania) occupied several polling stations, out of which the following are singled out: Dom na gradezhni rabotnici (Civil Engineers Home), Football Federation of Macedonia (FFM), the settlement Kapishtec and the school "11 Oktomvri". This massive ballot cast has been registered by the media as well. In addition to citizens coming from Pustec, another reported phenomenon is the presence of "new citizens" in Center, coming from the municipality Kavadarci, and possibly from other Macedonian municipalities. Strong police presence, according to some witnessing, has been due to the "imported" citizens. In the first round of the elections, the vote difference between the candidates for mayor of the municipality Center was minimal.
Soon after the closing of the polling units in Resen, citizens, and even police officers, have started celebrating the victory of VMRO-DPMNE's candidate by shooting with firearms, even with kalashnikovs. Voting of citizens from Pustec has been reported in this municipality too.
Celebratory gunfire has also marked the victory celebration in Chair.
Tensions in Kochani and Strumica
The fight for votes of the Roma population in Kochani resulted in strong pressures, intimidation and bribe, as well as arrest of SDSM activists by the police.
Members of the special police unit dressed as civilians or in uniforms, have been visibly present all across the city. Cars with no registration plates have been reported circling around the city.
Another reported phenomenon is the great number of allegedly illiterate citizens who have asked for an assistance to vote; however, the same people have later appeared in the capacity of assisting other citizens who said they were illiterate.
A ballot box has been broken in Strumica this morning, and there have been shootings from fake gun. Civil's observers have also reported strong police presence and tense atmosphere. The ballot has been extended for one hour there.
Veles voted with security agency members
Civil's observer who possessed proper Civil's documentation and was accredited by SEC, has been prevented from entering the polling station 2147 in Veles, twice.
Party activists of VMRO-DPMNE have been standing in front of the polling stations, exerting pressure on the voters. Another reported phenomenon is the gathering of security agency members whose owner is affiliate of one of the political parties, in front of polling units.
Party activists, employees in the local administration and in the Ministry of Agriculture have been threatening to cancel subsidies for some of the citizens in the villages Ivankovci, Dolno and Gorno Orizari.
Long list of irregularities
Family and group voting; political agitation and breaching of the election silence; organised transportation; bribe of citizens; threats; incomplete voting materials; increased number of allegedly illiterate; disable and sick people; members of electoral committees without identity documentations; excessive police presence; as well as presence of senior state officers have been registered in the following municipalities: Center, Gjorche Petrov, Aerodrom, Chair, Karposh, Gostivar, Kumanovo, Staro Negorichane, Jegunovce, Kochani, Delchevo, Tearce, Brvenica, Tetovo, Struga, Bitola, almost in all the municipalities that held elections today.
Pressures and obstruction in the work of both Civil and other organisations' observers have been reported at several polling units.
Civil was monitoring the election process in its second round within the project "Free and Non-violent Elections", with approximately 140 observers deployed mostly in the municipalities which held run-off round or revote.
Civil urges all citizens to also report irregularities on 02/5209176 or at [email protected] and/or to the Helsinki Committee at 02/3119073 in the following few days.
Civil will hold a press conference tomorrow (Monday, April 8) in Klub na novinari (Journalists Club) at 12 p.m.
Civil's phones: 02/5209176 and 075/742445.