The reports on discrimination, harassment and threats on the basis of political affiliation intensified right after the Agreement to overcome political crisis of June 2 and July 15, 2015 was concluded. The reports of CIVIL – Center for Freedom are based on information submitted by citizens electronically or in person, at meetings with representatives of civil society, employees in the public and private sector, political parties at the local level, at training seminars and on many other grounds.
There is information on political pressure coming from around the entire country. This is one more report in the long series of reports and information that CIVIL has been publishing for years. This one is based on multiple testimonies on fierce political pressure in one large municipality in Republic of Macedonia [we do not specify names and locations in order to protect our sources].
Photos, videos and anonymous statements from several sources speak of systematic abuse and pressure on a political basis, with the purpose of controlling the electorate. Our interlocutors say they expect even greater pressure in the first months of 2016, before the elections scheduled for April 24.
The research team of CIVIL came across photos of SMS messages and lists that are to contain “secured voters”, as well as communication from the social networks. Our sources are categorical to remain anonymous out of fear that they and their family members could face even greater pressure, getting fired from work and many other “penalties” foreseen for those who are disobedient.
Employees in municipalities, primary and secondary schools, kindergartens, communal enterprises and many other institutions at local and central level are targets of a systematic political agit-prop processing.
A lawyer from one large municipality in Macedonia also testifies for CIVIL, saying that there has been a growing number of public sector employees who are seeking for legal advice on how to get protected from political pressure imposed by the management. According to our source, employees in public enterprises state that their managers urge them to come to party headquarters and to the municipality where they receive orders to instruct their subordinates to compile lists of 5-6 or more politically neutral citizens. This "operation" has a purpose, to influence the neutral voters to vote for the ruling party at the elections in April next year.
Sources say political pressure is even more aggressive than in previous years. Employees are obliged to submit lists to the senior officials in the public enterprises in which they must enter a name, surname and phone number of “secured voters”.
The employees in the public enterprises and in the public administration are usually threatened with firing or with firing of their family members and friends, who may be employed in the same or another institution or public enterprise. Those who have temporary contracts are threatened that their contracts will not be extended. Employees who fail to submit lists of “secured voters” are downgraded or are transferred to other job positions, making their work harder.
The political pressure on the public administration and public enterprises is accompanied by various forms of discrimination and harassment of staff, which is contrary to the Administration Law, and violates the Electoral Code.
There are not any harassment cases resolved at court, so the only way for public servants to protect their jobs and their bare existence is to obey and become complicit in the violation of the laws, as their party appointed managers command.
Employees in the public sector are not the only victims of political pressure. Workers in private firms are also exposed to political pressure.
The pressure that the private sector suffers is another story. It is directly connected to the pressure that is performed through the Public Revenue Office. As the time for elections approaches, so do the pressure intensify.
It is not known whether a citizen has initiated a procedure against political pressure, in accordance to the law. CIVIL - Center for Freedom, has many times publically called upon the employees in the public administration to resist political pressure and to report such cases to the organization.
CIVIL Research Team