Jozic – Ilekovic for CIVIL: The Voters Register is a precondition for free elections

Aleksandra Jozic – Ilekovic, former vice-chairman of the State Electoral Commission of the Republic of Croatia and current advisor to the Minister for Public Administration, and expert from Croatia on the electoral code, gave a few of her own recommendations regarding the electoral code and achieving fair, free and democratic elections. Jozic – Ilekovic was part of the expert support of CIVIL – Center for Freedom during 2015, appointed by the Centre of Excellence of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, along with experts from GONG, a Croatian organization with worldwide reputation in the area of election observation.

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Aleksandra Jozic – Ilekovic: In legislative terms, the general assessment of the Macedonian electoral code is absolutely satisfactory. This is because Macedonia has implemented all the principles of the European electoral heritage. However, certain obscurities and gaps are noticed within the framework of the electoral code.

The voters register has been identified as the biggest problem, in particular, its updating. Even though according to the Electoral Code the State Election Commission (SEC) maintains the voter lists, in practice there is a dilemma on whether the SEC or the Ministry of Interior (MOI) is responsible for the accuracy of the voters register. It is true that the voters register should be updated based on information obtained from the MOI. Nevertheless, the SEC can check this data directly.

The Electoral Code does not specify clearly how this will be implemented. I emphasize that the voters register must be brought into line, and this takes time. It is a precondition for having transparent, fair and democratic elections, which should enable all voters to be able to realize their lawfully guaranteed right to vote. It means that one must take into consideration that voters who do not have valid identification cards or passports, with prior examination of the competent authority, have the right to vote. Unfortunately, the Macedonian Electoral Code does not provide this possibility, unlike the voting of the diaspora, where through active registration voters are able to register and thus realize their right to vote.

The time period that is necessary before the elections for updating the Voters Register by the state institutions needs to be anticipated, so that a strong media campaign can be conducted to inform the citizens of the responsibilities they need to undertake in order to realize their voting right.

Furthermore, a strong commitment of the state is needed in dealing with the fictitious residencies, through an active cooperation with the citizens in detecting them and similar abnormalities.

In this regard, public disclosure of the number of residents of a certain address is proposed. It should be carried out by the MOI. This data should be publically available on their website. In this way, the citizens will actively participate and will assist the competent state authorities in detecting certain irregularities.

Biljana Jordanovska

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