“The second round of the local elections has ended. The votes remain to be counted, some minor re-runs, but looking overall, the institutions organized an election process that can be described as democratic and free, but with a series of administrative weaknesses.
What marked the election process overall, we also see ahead of the second round, just more emphasized and more dynamic, at moments even more unpleasant”, said the President of CIVIL, Xhabir Deralla at the fifth conference of the organization on Election Day.
Saso Ordanoski, political analyst, Blagica Dimitrovska from Inkluziva and Aleksandar Krzalovski from MCIC participated in the press conference. CIVIL’s long-term election observers Ljupco Stojkov and Damjan Temkov also joined the press conference.
Deralla reflected on the aggressive black agenda that extended throughout the entire election process of the local elections.
“In first place is the incredibly aggressive black propaganda that was organized by the rightist opposition by using all dirty tricks and manipulations that can be imagined. The rightist opposition organized a campaign with disinformation and hate speech, with threats, insults and calls for violence of unparalleled proportions.
Extreme neglect of all legal restrictions in regards to the election silence is noted, with extreme arrogance and fierceness. Hatred is manifested and violent behaviour, both in the public communication and on the ground. What we saw in the past two days of the campaign and during the election silence is a collection of criminal acts that senior party officials and leaders in the radical right-wing in the country conducted openly, said Deralla.
“As if it that wasn’t enough, then came the threats and on the ground – a violent behaviour that brought back the bad memories of the violence from the time of the regime, as well as the terror from April 27, 2017 and the campaign during the Referendum in 2018, after which the country returned on the world map.
The unpleasant scenes that even the very president of VMRO-DPMNE Hristijan Mickoski and his media-propaganda entourage caused, the threats for killings and many other incidents, leave a bad impression on the political entities that fought for power, not choosing means. According to CIVIL’s analyses, that is one of the reasons also for the low voter turnout”, pointed out Deralla.
Furthermore, the thousands of cases in which the biometric voter identification devices didn’t work also left a dark mark on the entire process. The damage that this insufficiently integrated technological novelty has caused in the election process can still not be assed. All the inconsistencies with the Electoral Code, as well as all other weaknesses related to the manner in which the election administration worked at the lower levels (election boards) can be added to this.
All that together contributed to violation of the right to vote in several placed across the country, some voters giving up on voting and many other irregularities. There has to be responsibility for these shortcomings, especially for the hurried application of the “fingerprint devices”. But whether there will be one, time will tell.
Like never before in recent years, CIVIL was a target of hate speech, horrible threats and pressure.
In posts on several Facebook pages, among which the FB page Ludata Joci Fan Klub was leading, in all of them together, all well-known to the public for their hate speech and disinformation, the open black campaign in favour of the rightist radical political structures, notorious untruths, manipulations, insulting speech on ethnic grounds, hate speech against CIVIL representatives and threats against its observers are expressed.
The goal of this extremely inhumane and anti-democratic attack on a civil society organization for human rights is to conduct pressure on the organization and its members and to obstruct its work, as well as to inflict harm on the reputation and trust that the organization enjoys in the public in the country and in the world.
CIVIL has already filed a report to the Ministry of Interior and criminal charges to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for these cases.
It is surprising that CIVIL’s observers faced many cases of obstructions to their work. In the first round, as we informed, there were 76 cases of obstruction, mainly from the boards. If to that at least 30 cases of today are added (data is still being processes), you have a three-digit number of obstruction cases.
People with disabilities faced more than 20 inaccessible polling stations. We have a same number of cases where voting screens were not placed, and in one case, they were used to protect the election board from the sun, and in another – for wiping off shoes at the entrance of the polling station.
At these elections, again, Aksios 2017 appears as an observation organization, which has no website or contact phone, nor transparently published financial reports and data on its financing. In addition, it is surprising that this organization, apart from the election observation, publishes pre-election surveys with an unclear methodology, which is contrary to the good practices for professional and impartial pre-election civil election observation.
Tomorrow, at 1.00 pm, CIVIL will broadcast a new edition of Election Report (34) with preliminary assessments and details of how the election process was running, with a focus on the second round.