CIVIL – Center for Freedom recognizes and supports the efforts of the State Election Commission, assisted by international organizations and experts. At 45 days before the first round of local elections are to be held in Republic of Macedonia, CIVIL – Center for Freedom once more is turning on the alarm and directing recommendations and demands to institutions, political parties and all stakeholders in the election process.
The citizens with the right to vote are the ones who are affected the most by the election process. The state has a constitutional and legal obligation to allow all citizens to use their right to vote. The state, institutions and political parties need to maximally respect the democratic standards for conducting free elections.
Political calculations and manipulations have to give way to professional and expert solutions to all the challenges that the SEC and the voters are facing with the upcoming election process. It is unacceptable to have politicization in any segment of the conducting of the elections in the next 45 days. We will strongly condemn and categorically demand responsibility and severe sanctions for even the smallest attempt to obstruct and manipulate with the administration of the elections and with the will of the voters.
CIVIL has noted from its previous observation that the pre-election campaign starts much too earlier, before the date of their official announcement and before the start of the pre-election campaign. We remind the political parties once again that, according to the Electoral Code, the campaign lasts 20 days before Election Day, and that is all! Corruption and vote buying are forbidden!
The Voters Register remains to be an enormous challenge for the State Election Commission, which is making huge efforts to revise this document. However, there are also other legal obstacles for resolving this problem entirely. This means that all relevant institutions need to be included in solving the decades-long problems with the Voters Register, in order not to have violations of the voting right again, like in the early parliamentary elections that were held in December 2016.
We are using this opportunity to invite all citizens to cooperate with the SEC and with other relevant institutions in the process of revising the Voters Register, and to report any irregularity or problem to CIVIL – Center for Freedom.
All individuals and groups, organizations and political parties spreading hate speech and encouraging intolerance and violence on ethnic, religious or other basis, with the goal of gaining political points, need to be decisively and consistently sanctioned.
The financing of political parties and of the pre-election campaign has to be transparent and in accordance with the legal regulations. Parties carrying out corruptive and other unlawful actions have to be sanctioned, their accounts blocked and have to be excluded from the electoral race.
Reforms in the judicial system need to speed up, in order to prevent obstructions and manipulation with the will of the voters, especially in the appeals procedure before the Administrative Court during the election process and after.
Urgent measure need to be introduced for supporting the lawful and objective functioning of the control mechanism, such as the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption, State Audit Office, Commission for Prevention of Discrimination and others.
Even though there is some progress in the improvement of media freedom, the media are still far from the required level to provide objective and impartial informing and space for public debate, so that voters can make an informed choice when voting. The Macedonian Radio and Television (MRTV) and other public services, along with the Agency for Visual and Audiovisual Media Services need to urgently receive the opportunity to work for the public interest, and not for party-criminal structures in the country.
The institutions of the government at the national and local level have to ensure maximum conditions for freedom of expression and civic action.
Reports on irregularities can be made on the telephone number: 02 / 520 91 76 or 071 / 608 523, and the website Free Elections is also available for reporting election irregularities, and messages can be also be sent on the Facebook page Free Elections.