January’s dynamic start of CIVIL –Center for Freedom is successfully coming to an end. From January 4-th until now, CIVIL’s team has realized all of its anticipated activities with the members of the monitoring teams, with partner NGO’s, as well as with representatives of political parties at the local level. Most of these activities are related to projects for long-term observation of political processes in the electoral context and for strengthening public awareness and citizen education on voting rights.
During this period, the events of CIVIL in several municipalities throughout the country were covered by local and regional TV stations, as well as by the Internet media.
The meeting of the Regional working group for free elections in Bitola, held on January 4, was covered by the local Mega TV station, through the statement given by the President of CIVIL, Xhabir Deralla, who on this occasion stated that in Bitola serious conditions for free elections are not being created, and that there is a big dirty campaign present at the political level. A discussion was raised at the meeting, through which a number of recommendations and solutions for overcoming the political crisis were offered, for the purpose of ensuring minimal conditions for holding free elections.
In Stip, the meeting with the Regional working group for free elections was held on January 11, and it included precisely the media at the local level that reflect the seclusion of the media at the national level. TV Iris and TV Star published the statement made by the editor of CIVIL Media, Sinisa Stankovic, who stressed out all the irregularities in the electoral context that the citizens are facing: blackmail, intimidations, pressure, vulgar dismissals from work, especially in the state and public administration, vote buying and drawing up lists of secured voters. The news of regional TV station Kanal Plus, stressed the discussion on the political crisis, the position of the people of Stip on early elections, whether to cancel or postpone them – or not, in the current circumstances.
On January 16, the public event “All for free elections” was held in Stip, in the spirit of the maxim that any weather is good for activism. In the statements for the media of Stip, representatives of CIVIL, Xhabir Deralla, Sinisa Stankovic and Marija Tegovska, once more urged the citizens to join the efforts for ensuring free elections, but also to join the institutions and the political parties for an immediate departization of the institutions, clearing up of the Voters Register and for freeing of the media and the public word in Macedonia.
Public events for free elections will also be held in Gevgelia and Ohrid on January 23 and 30, 2016.
The problem with the non-existence of local media, the pressure and political discrimination and the seclusion of the local authorities, is a key problem that need to be solved in the Gevgelia region. CIVIL held the meeting with the regional group in Gevgelia on 13 January. The Gevgelia portal- GevgeliaNet was the only one to cover the event with an extensive headline from the two-hour meeting.
“Not even the authorities in Gevgelia believe in having a democratic electoral process on the date scheduled with the Przino Agreement, April 24. The compass is not working, there is no left-wing, no right wing. We are facing extreme Bolshevism, and in Gevgelia there aren’t any conditions for forming a third political block any time soon, were the remarks stated by representatives of the public political life in Gevgelia”, states the report of GevgeliaNet in regards to the meeting of CIVIL.
At the meeting of the Regional working group for free elections held in Kumanovo, discussions were held on the distrust of the Albanians in their leaders, on the deficit of the municipal budget and the destruction of human dignity through pressures, threats and creating social cases that are easily silenced. According to the people in Kumanovo, the only way to postpone the elections is with the assistance of civil society organizations and the opposition to boycott the elections on 24 April. According to the participants of the meeting, this is the last chance for Macedonia to be taken seriously by the international community.
The meeting was held on January 15, and it was covered by TV Plus and the local portal kumanovonews.com, which presented the statement made by Biljana Everette of CIVIL: “The opinion is that there is some kind of a media darkness in Macedonia and that the election should be postponed”.
On the same day, in Ohrid, the meeting of the Regional working group was covered by the regional Ohrid TV station O2, for which Sinisa Stankovic gave a statement. Part of the participants pointed out at the meeting that ultimately the power lies within the citizens, who need to detect the irregularities and the corruption that are taking place and to report them.
These regional meetings along with the public event in Stip were held within the framework of the Project “Free Elections For Free Citizens” , supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany.
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