During today’s press conference, Ombudsman Idzet Memeti urged the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia to encourage themselves not to remain silent and to report any form of pressure or violation of their voting rights without hesitation, and by this to contribute towards a democratic electoral process.
In anticipation of early parliamentary elections, the Ombudsman reminded the citizens that they are the ones who are deciding on the type of elections we are going to have, and that no one else can decide on their behalf, or through threats, blackmail, pressures or intimidations.
He also directed sharp criticism, but also a demand, to the State Election Commission, the Ministry of Interior, and to other competent institutions, to help prevent electoral irregularities. Memeti appealed to the SEC not to complicate the voting process of the disabled and sick people and thereby discriminate them.
In regards to the journalist question if it isn’t too early for the Ombudsman to be holding a press-conference concerning the early parliamentary elections, Mr. Memeti replied:
“The press-conference has not been rushed, but it is rather timely, because the Ombudsman has been able to help the citizens on the day of the elections. We believe that this is not enough, because the protection of the voting rights is something that needs to be done permanently. You are aware that the Voters register is quite problematic in Macedonia. We wait for 20/30, in accordance to the law, for the lists to be updated. It is precisely because of this that we are having this conference, to remind the citizens and to point out to the institutions. If there is a credible Voters register, then everyone can realize their voting rights in a credible manner, and if we don’t – then we won’t have credible elections. On the other hand, the aim of this press-conference is to remind the heads of institutions about the intimidations on the public administration. For them not to even think of such a thing, because we will react in an even sharper manner if we come to certain conclusions and to, nevertheless, encourage the citizens not to wait until the day of the elections.”
When asked whether in previous elections there had been reports of intimidation and pressure, the Ombudsman responded positively, pointing out the last elections, when they had received the greatest number of complaints from citizens, but only on the day of the elections. That is when the key irregularities for that electoral process had been determined:
„I determined the work of the SEC and of the MOI to be poor and unprofessional. I publicly criticize them. MOI cannot change the Voter’s register whenever they want to, as was the case with the previous elections, and for SEC not to take any action. And, for the president of SEC to criticize the Ombudsman and to try to legally correct that the SEC is not the one that has to update the Voter’s register, but rather the MOI! He can tell that to someone else. Look, during the last elections, the SEC turned into a service of the Ministry of Interior, period. Whereby, changes, deletions, insertions, all according to the law, then and now, can be performed only by the SEC, and no one else."
The Ombudsman said that if necessary, he would hold press-conferences every week, reviewing the situation and escalations that may arise during the pre-election period. He referred to the example of the electoral boards and the already started disagreement between the opposition and the position in regards to this, and with which proposals they would go to the SEC, since the electoral boards are comprised of the public administration.
CIVIL - Center for Freedom welcomes the decision of the Ombudsman and justifies his remarks in an electoral context
The electoral experiences of CIVIL confirm all the irregularities and criticisms that the Ombudsman referred to today. CIVIL has disclosed a great part of the electoral frauds in the reports "Ruthless struggle for power" in 2013 and "Disqualified democracy" in 2014, followed by numerous analysis and recommendations on the situation of human rights and socio-political processes, among which we can outline the latest recommendations of CIVIL as of January 10-th this year, which were also sent to the international community at the same time.