The post-election agony in Republic of Macedonia is accompanied by the scandalous behavior of the institutions that are most relevant in the election process. After the public witnessed an extremely suspicious quality of work of the State Election Commission (SEC), in the continuation of the process we see just as problematic behavior of the Administrative Court, which has violated the principles of transparency in the work that are prescribed by the law, is stated in the announcement of CIVIL – Center for Freedom.
Having in consideration the competencies that this composition of the SEC has, according to the Electoral Code, the low level of quality of the entire election process that was carried out in the country is unacceptable. The SEC not only did not manage to overcome the political pressures, but rather was under political dictate during the entire election process, just like the Macedonian judiciary, which includes the Administrative Court.
We will not forget that the SEC did not ensure the right to vote to all citizens who have a right to vote.
Not only did the SEC not clear up the Voters Register, but it also allowed for it to become one of the tools for electoral manipulation and fraud. CIVIL will insist for those who are responsible for this situation to face the consequences from the damage to the Voters Register and from the violations of the right to vote.
Furthermore, ignoring CIVIL’s indications and reports from the field that speak of many irregularities and stealing of votes is also unacceptable. Taking into consideration the authorizations it has, the SEC could have done much more to prevent the pressures, obstruction of voting and the fierce abuses of the administration and public resources, both during the entire process and on the day of the elections, and during the appeal procedure.
The negative assessments regarding the election process do not come only from CIVIL, but also from several international organizations who had observer missions in the country. Because it did nothing, it did not respond to the numerous indications and criticisms, the SEC has become a complicit in the destruction of the legality and the democratic character of this election process.
Let us remind that CIVIL immediately after the day of the elections, presented a preliminary report in which it presented more information on the election process and the election day, and at the same time publically directed several recommendations. More than 650 reports from the field speak of at least one form of election irregularity during the voting that took place on December 11. Hundreds of irregularities have been registered during the pre-election period as well.
CIVIL publically urged for a recount of all ballots, given the suspicious manner they were counted in some of the polling stations and the high number of reports on unlawful working of the Electoral Boards. Just as an illustration, CIVIL’s observers noted up to 121 cases of violation of the Electoral Code and the electoral procedure by the Electoral Boards.
The high number of invalid ballots and unequal treatment of ballots pointed towards CIVIL’s second demand, and that is to have a revision of all invalid ballots.
The serious violation of the Electoral Code, including voting of phantom voters and deceased persons, photographing of the ballot, which indicates vote buying, violation of the secrecy of voting and pressures, along with many other serious irregularities have led to a number of 30 polling stations for which CIVIL recommended for there to be an election rerun.
On Tuesday afternoon, December 13, CIVIL submitted these and many other findings to the SEC. there is no response, just like there hasn’t been to all the other addresses and letters that CIVIL has directed to this institution in the past several months.
With this, CIVIL is informing the public that all possible efforts are made to point out the weaknesses, with the purpose to help the institutions, as well as to contribute to the democratic process in the country, but the response is zero. Therefore the following question is raised, somewhat rhetorical, who do the State Election Commission and the Administrative Court work for?
CIVIL will continue to work devotedly on revealing and publishing all anti-democratic and unlawful actions of all actors involved in the electoral and political process in the country, regardless how closed and politicized the institutions are.