Live from CIVIL’s press studio, 12 October 2021, 1:00 pm
CIVIL follows the election process also through its media platform in Macedonian, Albanian and English. As a responsible organization and responsible media platform, CIVIL, without sensationalism and without a race for clicks and commercial profit, contributes for the election process to be presented in a decent and dignified manner. Maximum effort is made to timely reveal to the public violations to the election practices and to the voting right. One such contribution is also this Election report.
MEDIA REPRESENTATION – UNFAIR DISTRIBUTION
Media representation of independent candidates is minimal. According to the guidelines for paid political adverting of the AAVMS, prepared according to relevant law, distribution of media space for independent candidate lists is unbalanced. So, out of 9 minutes and 30 seconds during an hour, 4 minutes are provided for SDSM and DUI, 4 for VMRO-DPMNE and the Alliance for Albanians, 1 minute for the other parliamentary political parties, and only 30 seconds for non-parliamentary parties and independent lists.
Holders of independent candidate lists and smaller parties continuously criticized this uneven distribution during the election campaign. The conclusion is true that this distribution puts those who will try to independently win the sympathy of voters into an unfair position and must be part of the next phase of reforms in the electoral system and election practices.
COMPLAINTS TO THE SEC AND THE OMBUDSMAN
The independent “Chance for Center” shared with CIVIL information about their complaints to the SEC and to the Ombudsman. On September 20 and 23, “Chance for Center” demands from the SEC:
1) The ballot to contain the symbol and full title of the independent list “Chance for Center” Jana Belceva-Andreevska, as the list is named and confirmed by a decision of the Municipal Election Commission for the Municipality of Center, as well as in accordance with Article 97 of the Electoral Code.
2) To be submitted to them an excerpt of the Voters Register for the Municipality of Center in accordance with Article 55 of the Electoral Code.
According to the representative of “Chance for Center” with whom we contacted, these demands have not been met. “Chance for Center” have submitted a complaint also to the Ombudsman, but to this moment, it is not known whether there has been any response from this institution.
The ballot, according to the decision of the SEC, “group of voters Jana Belceva-Andreevska” will be on the ballot. According to “Chance for Center”, “the inappropriate naming of the list could have consequences in terms of voter recognition of the list”.
Access to the Voters Register is also disabled for “Chance for Center”. They say that the “integrity of the election process, and thus the active and passive right to the vote, is violated if the access to this documents is ensured only for political parties”.
Access to the Voters Register is provided in the Electoral Code, with the purpose to enable better planning and implementation of the campaign. According to the complaint to the Ombudsman, this right is disabled for “Chance for Center”.
GENDER-BASED HATE SPEECH
The black campaign continues in the social media and in some media.
Indeed, good news is that the Facebook page that posted gender-based hate speech, insults and vulgar content, and which was intended for supporting Levica candidate for mayor of Shuto Orizari – no longer exists.
Nevertheless, many other profiles and pages on the social networks, and even in some media, are continuously posting gender-based hate speech.
CONDEMNING GENDER-BASED HATE SPEECH
With repulsion and strong condemnation, CIVIL is following the black campaign that is being conducted against women that have appeared on candidate lists for the local elections. There is no gender balance on the lists, which will reflect also on the representation of women in managing structures of the local government.
Once again, in the election process we are witnessing male dominance in Macedonian politics. Additionally, the few women who are involved in the election race for the local elections are targeted with hate speech, vulgar discrediting, complete fabrications about sex scandals, insults, slander and calls for violence.
Such criminal practice directed against women in politics has to stop, because at the very least, it is discouragement for their involvement in politics and in social processes.
CALL TO THE INSTITUTIONS
The black campaign overall is part of the election process.
Therefore, CIVIL calls on the relevant institutions to take urgent measures for finding and sanctioning the centers that are organizing, inciting and / or sponsoring such atrocious content in public communication.
Citizens, the media and civil society organization are called on to condemn and reject such extremely negative incidents in the public discourse and to join the calls for tackling black propaganda according to the laws.
DISPUTABLE VIDEO WITH DISCRIMINATORY VOCABULARY
The attention of CIVIL’s monitoring team was drawn by a video of “Green Humane City” in which one of the candidates from the council list had discriminatory vocabulary addressed at several vulnerable groups.
Yesterday “Green Humane City” withdrew the disputable video under the pressure of the progressive public.
CIVIL welcomes this move, but warns in the future, all candidates, at least at the end of the election race, to refrain from discriminatory and insulting speech against all social groups.
GRATITUDE FOR THE SUPPORT AND COOPERATION
In this edition (number 16) of CIVIL’s regular report dedicated to the election process, I would like to thank all citizens for their trust, support and daily contribution through indications, information and views shared with us in their messages.
Furthermore, on behalf of CIVIL, I would like to thank all observers who even in these complex conditions, again joined us in the civil monitoring of the election process. It is an honour to be part of such a great and dedicated team.
Certainly, gratitude also to all those interested who did not receive a positive answer for joining the teams for election monitoring. Excellent candidates who we could not engage due to the high competition. We ask them to remain in contact with CIVIL, we have many more joint activities ahead of us.
Today at 5.30 pm, another online training seminar will be held for the remaining observers of CIVIL.
Tomorrow, CIVIL will present its Report on the long-term monitoring at 12.30 pm, live, on the organizations Facebook page and YouTube channel. With previous notice, physical presence at the presentation might also be possible with compliance to COVID-19 protection measures. Interested journalists will have the opportunity to join through Zoom.
CIVIL will observe Election Day with about 300 short-term mobile observers.
CIVIL’s press service will open at 6.00 am on October 17 and will be in function until after midnight the next day. The first press conference, according the initial plan, will be broadcast live at 10. am, and will later be regularly online with information from the ground every two to three hours, but also with extraordinary live broadcasts.
Online applications for reporting irregularities will be available for citizens at the website www.slobodniizbori.info and Citizen report at www.civilmedia.mk where there is a banner that leads to the application. At the same time, the following telephone line will be open 02/5209176, and the messenger of CIVIL’s Facebook page may also be used for communication with the organization.
Xhabir Deralla, in cooperation with CIVIL’s Monitoring Team
camera: Atanas Petrovski
Realization: Arian Mehmeti
Translation: N. Cvetkovska
This post is also available in: Macedonian