“When I presented the January plan of activities at one of the last meetings late last year, the team of CIVIL called it the January crusade. I agree, the plan is indeed loaded. Basically, there is not one day left without an activity during the entire month. But, we’ve had busier paces, so this is nothing” – says Goran Naumovski, member of the Executive Committee of CIVIL, in regards to the plans of the organization in the beginning of 2016.
CIVIL is working intensively on meetings and activities with members of the monitoring team, with partner organizations, as well as with representatives of political parties at the local level. Most of these activities are in connection to the projects for long-term observation of the political processes in the electoral context and for strengthening public awareness and civic education on voting rights.
The first event of this year, a meeting of the Regional working group for free elections, was held on January 4, in Bitola. Despite all the expectations that the attendance would be modest due to the holidays, the meeting was attended by about twenty political party representatives, civil society organizations, a Member of Parliament and party leader, several representatives of the Council of the Municipality of Bitola, the media, as well as interested citizens.
The meeting included discussions on the current political crisis, the situation of the media, the pressures, threats and blackmail, the political discrimination, the violation of the voting rights and the abuses of the public administration. TV Mega of Bitola reported on the event.
The regional working groups for free elections are established within the Project “Free Elections for Free Citizens”, supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany.
In the meantime, CIVIL is working on creating detailed plans for monitoring the electoral process, is performing an analysis on the situation and conditions for holding free elections, is conducting surveys and research, whereas, the mobile team of the organization is verifying information and reports from the field. The next meeting of the Regional working group for free elections will be held in Stip, on January 11, 2016.
In parallel to the event in Stip, a working meeting of the CIVIL monitoring team will be held the same day in Veles, within the framework of the Project “My voting right”, at which the monitoring reports of CIVIL for the Veles region will be discussed. Several working meetings of the monitoring teams for the Skopje region will also be held, with the same agenda. Due to the large number of topics and reports from the Skopje region, these meetings will be held from January 12 to 14, 2015.
At the same time, another team of CIVIL will be travelling across the country. A working meeting with the monitoring team for the Strumica region will also be held on January 12,2015. These activities are supported by the USAID Civil Society Project.
On January 12, CIVIL will be in Gevgelia, where a meeting of the Regional working group for free elections for the Gevgelia region has been scheduled, within the Project “Free Elections For Free Citizens”. Within the framework of the same project, the team of CIVIL will have meetings with the Regional working groups for free elections in Gostivar, on January 14, whereby, on January 15, such meetings will be held in Ohrid and Kumanovo at the same.
CIVIL is organizing a public event in Stip, on “Free Elections For Free Citizens” on January 16. Just as in Kumanovo, the citizens of Stip will have the opportunity to watch videos that are not broadcasted on national media in Macedonia, and inform themselves about their voting rights and participate in the photo petition for free elections. By the end of January and beginning of February, CIVIL will also hold public events in Ohrid and Gevgelia.
A contest for best photo and video material is in progress, within the framework of the Civic Lenses Project, in which citizen journalists can submit materials on abuses and violations of the voting rights in the country. Prizes will be awarded in five monthly cycles, and each month the five most successful submissions will be rewarded with vouchers for the purchase of photo/video and computer equipment. The highest monthly prize is equivalent to $110 Dollars. The Project is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy.
“CIVIL – Center for Freedom continues to monitor the electoral process, and in the following period there will be intensified preparations and teams that will monitor the early elections. The organization received financial support for a project for monitoring the upcoming elections, which started on January 1, however, more information in this regard will be given as of next week”, says Goran Naumovski.
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