Based on the initial analysis, CIVIL is publically directing the following recommendations and demands to the SEC and other competent institutions:
- Another full recount of the votes in all electoral units;
- Revision of invalid ballots
- in counting the votes, ballots in which the will of the voters could clearly be seen have been proclaimed as invalid.
- Re-run of the elections at polling stations where serious violations to the voting right and electoral procedures have been observed;
- For the SEC to ensure insight in the counting of the votes, the revision of invalid ballots and in the election materials to interested domestic and foreign observers;
- For Members of Electoral Boards, who have been found of performing their tasks unprofessionally and unethically or have had conflict of interests, to lose the right of being elected to that position in the following election process;
- An urgent analysis and investigation into the work of the SEC and its bodies needs to be carried out, along with urgent reforms of this institution ahead of local elections 2017;
- For the MOI to check the procedure for issuing ID cards in Ohrid, on the day of the elections and for Prilep, on the day before the elections.
We demand for the SEC to state whether there are reports for which it has decided, and what has happened with those voters who were missing in the Voters Register, but did figure on the list of the Municipal Election Commission?
Preliminary assessment of the election process
Unfortunately, we cannot say that free elections were held in Republic of Macedonia. Even though minimum conditions were created for them to be held, the election day on December 11, as well as the day before that, were filled with many irregularities.
The catastrophic situation of the Voters Register prevented many citizens of realizing their voting right. Phantoms and deceased people voted, but living people could not vote.
The State Election Commission (SEC) failed to pull itself away from the political influences and did not ensure the right to vote to all citizens with a right to vote. Those responsible for this situation need to face the consequences from the damage of the Voters Register and violations of the right to vote.
CIVIL noted a large number of cases of pressures, blackmail, filling of boxes, family and proxy voting, abuse of minors and bribery of voters across the entire country.
Employees of state institutions were rudely and continuously violating the electoral silence, more specifically, it was as if it did not even exist at all.
Many Electoral Boards were extremely unprofessional and often acted unethically, and part of them did not have enough information on what they were supposed to do at the voting station.
Some reports of CIVIL’s observers speak of cases of party influences on members of the Electoral Boards. Furthermore, cases were noted in which members of electoral boards were suggesting voters who to vote for. There were also cases where party observers took the place of members of electoral boards and were checking the Voters lists in order to see who had voted, and who had not. Some members of the electoral boards had been informing their party headquarters on the turnout of their members, while others agitated and pressured the electorate from the very polling stations.
In a dozen cases, ballot boxes were not sealed at the very opening, and were additionally sealed upon the intervention of the observes.
Armed violence on the day of the elections was not noted in any of the reports from the ground.
CIVIL – Center for Freedom is expressing gratitude and compliments on the exceptionally well conducted monitoring missions of the ODIHR, and other foreign missions such as the IESC, DiploCat, SILBA, AEGEE and others. Special thanks for the support of our partners GONG, Croatia.
More than 650 reports, in which at least one category of electoral irregularities was noted, came from CIVIL’s observers on the ground.
The number of phone calls from citizens exceeded the figure of 1.000, and the same number of messages were received through the social media and the six mobile phone lines that were opened during the election day.
The MOI, for the first time in many years, was up to the task and reacted timely in many cases.
In many polling stations, representatives of electoral boards were noticed noting voters by name and last name in their own notepads, in separate columns for VMRO-DPMNE or SDSM, which is illegal.
It has also been noted that in several polling stations there was no access for disable persons. For example, in two polling stations where disabled persons were voting, it was placed on the second floor, which was not the case in the previous elections, when this access was placed on the ground floor.
We also demand for the Voters register with voters from the Diaspora to be checked. While the Voters Register was open for review, we noticed that voters who were registered on the list of the Diaspora and whose application had been accepted, still figured on this list as well. Also, there is suspicion that there were serious shortcomings in the procedure of opening the Voters Register of the Diaspora during the first day, as exactly 50 people were registering every hour.
At voting station 1120 in the village of Otlja, Lipkovo – Deputy Prime Minister Pesevski from VMRO-DPMNE was present in the capacity of a party observer, where he openly, in front of those who were present at the voting station, agitated for his party and the coalition partner DUI, and by mocking opposition leader Zoran Zaev. He was often asking those present for their opinion on who would win in the Albanian campus, and that he would bet that their coalition partner would have a narrow victory.