The coalition "Get Out and Vote" which had the largest number of observers on the presidential elections (staggering 5,000 persons), has refused to list their donors - says FOKUS
The coalition "Get Out and Vote" which had the largest number of observers on the presidential elections (staggering 5,000 persons) has refused to say publically who their donors are. Apart from the donors, this coalition, which claims to have 94 civic organizations standing behind them, has not even published the names of the NGOs that form part of the coalition.
According to the observers we run across on the field during the elections, it was personally Daliborka Zlateva, member of the municipal committee of VMRO-DPMNE from Veles from the Association of Persons with Cerebral Palsy, who was distributing accreditations, t-shirts and flyers from the coalition "Get Out and Vote". The observers waited in queues in front of the premises of the association, located in the NGOs House in Veles, to take their accreditations, flyers and t-shirts.
Despite the observers' claims, Zlateva denies being part of the coalition.
"No, I am not part of the coalition "Get Out and Vote", you have been misinformed, said the member of the municipal committee of VMRO-DPMNE, Zlateva.
The only NGO that has publically declared to stand behind the coalition "Get Out and Vote" is the NGO "Synergy" from Shtip, whose president is Vilma Jordanova. Jordanova is member of VMRO-DPMNE and former council women in the municipality representing this political party. She stated that the donors insisted on remaining anonymous, and the civic organizations which form part of the coalition, have been registered in their personal archive.
"I am not able to list the civic organizations at the moment; however, I can tell you that there are 94 organizations in total from all over the country that have signed a written statement. Their names are not published, but they are registered in our personal archive," -she told us.
"Where do you get the funds from; who is the donor of your coalition?" - We asked her.
"The donors did not like their names to be revealed to the public. They wanted to stay anonymous. They only want to support people's education. Our determination is, regardless of your choice, just get out and vote. We stand for bigger turnout. There were donors who are political supporters of the one or the other party, which is the reason they did not want their names and surnames published. There are many individuals, as well as smaller and bigger companies," - Jordanova says.
She claims that being member of VMRO-DPMNE is not conflicting with her leading role of the coalition "Get Out and Vote".
The association "Synergy" was funded by the Government for the implementation of the project "LES - Logopedic Educational Software". Their project "To be inside the EU and outside the EU" is also funded by the Government.
"Get Out and Vote" on the other hand, is a coalition with the highest number of observers from the civic sector. A staggering number of 5,000 observers have been accredited. The citizen association MOST has accredited 580 observers, and Civil has accredited 113.
"It is not fair to comment on the activities of other NGOs, but if only part of the indications about the operations of this coalition is true, we've got some serious problem. That is why, with our best intentions at heart, we should point out that the mere number of observers is by itself questionable. In a situation where data is lacking about the people involved, the donors and whole array of other data, the credibility of other observers in the country is also jeopardized. When the heads of an operation of this sort are so closely connected to a political party, we've got a bomb in the heart of the system and the entire electoral process is in jeopardy. This does not only affect the reports released for the public; there is also a possibility for these observers to directly influence the electoral process from the inside, taken into consideration that they are accredited from SEC. We noticed last year, and this year even more so, that the observers of the coalition headed by Synergy - Shtip do not know exactly which organization they represent, thus they give some comic answers. In several cases they have even identified themselves as observers of Civil. They are not aware about their role, and our indications say that they act more like canvassers rather than observers. Mildly put, that is not fair." - says Xhabir Derala, President of Civil.
All of the observers from the civic sector have their logo and donors publically displayed, except for the coalition "Get Out and Vote".
"Get Out and Vote" was present with frequent statements on the day of the first round of presidential elections, stating that the voting process went "without any irregularities and disturbances on the electoral process".