Lately, politicians with initiatives for changes to the electoral system have been ever louder. One constituency is the latest toy in the Macedonian political playroom. At the same time, some politicians in the country are demanding early elections. Those two things don’t go together. Not even close!
Neglecting good election practices
Any change to the Electoral Code needs to be made at least six months prior to conducting any election process. Not to mention how much time and resources are needed for a major change such as the election model. It is a basic rule in implementing good election practices.
But for some politicians, especially those coming from structures for whom there still are court proceedings for election theft, this is unknown. On the contrary, they are in the group of politicians who are the most vocal in the demands for electoral reforms, but at the same time completely neglect the basic democratic and legal principles.
Citizen participation is necessary, but disabled
Creating a new electoral system certainly has to go together with creating a new Electoral Code which, in itself, is a long and delicate process, even without a change in the election model. And – such a process, in no case, under no circumstances, should pass without the participation of citizens. They need to be the main players on the field, who will articulate their interests and expectations, through various forms of organization, which they have available to them in a democratic country.
As things stand now, with election processes almost every year, citizen participation, although necessary, is disabled. The reason for that is the election roller coaster on whose rails the society is regularly “riding” on, with all the traumas it is dragging from the time of the “election industry” of Gruevski and his VMRO-DPMNE.
Let’s remind ourselves: Elections are for the citizens, not for the parties!
For deep incisions in the electoral system, knowledge and experience are needed, knowledge of the circumstances, the laws, knowing how those laws function, how, who manages to implement the legal regulations related to the election processes and how much. And most importantly – is the right to vote respected and how much, one of the fundamental human rights!
Because, let’s remind, the electoral system, electoral regulation and the very election processes are conducted, imagine, for the citizens! Not for the political parties, but for people to make an informed decision and to choose who best suites them to serve them.
Parties are the center of the world?
This sounds like a fantastic story, because parties behave like they are the center of the world and as if everything exists for them and only for them. But if they engage in changing the electoral system without taking into consideration the knowledge and experiences of civil society organizations and experts – the only success they will see will be to further devastate the already shaky electoral system in the country.
Some Macedonian politicians and their clubs, pardon me, political parties, are known for their favorite sport: Kidnapping the processes. And once they kill the processes, they will “kick” the ball to get it to the other side of the field.
The politicians’ attitude towards the election processes and the need for reforms in the electoral system is just one of the many examples of the destruction of key social projects in the country. They are consciously and carelessly causing irretrievable and long-term damages that are “consuming” entire generations.
The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on
For this and many other aspects of the issues related to the election processes, CIVIL has written and published publications of several thousand pages and is writing and publishing incomparably more every day on its media platform.
Even more so and much earlier, the Citizens’ association Most proposed good legal solutions and carried out several campaigns for changes to the electoral system. One of them is the campaign for open lists in 2011. Civil as an organization has been talking about one constituency for almost a decade. Even former Prime Minister Zoran Zaev called for the introduction of one constituency back in 2015.
Calculating people in politics and the efforts of experts
But nothing of that. These initiatives are either ignored, or even blocked up to the moment when calculating persons in politics “realize” that one constituency might bring them more power. Not for the voters, but for themselves. And some of them, at the same, are demanding early elections as well, which only shows what their motives are.
It’s no use that many experts, together with relevant civil society organizations, have been offering good solutions for decades, sustainable ones and in line to the Constitution and human rights and freedoms. Their proposals are short-lived, as they get stuck in the labyrinth of political outwitting. And after some time, the political “kidnappers” collect the “cream” from the public attention, but with one difference – they destroy the ideas and initiatives.
It’s about the citizens, right?
And then we wonder why people are not interested in participating in key processes related to democracy and to essential interests, rights and freedoms of people. They are not interested because they are excluded and manipulated by political predators.
For good, consistent and sustainable reforms, one party alone is not enough, or just one majority. Here there are always tricks that will block the processes. On the contrary, the entire parliament and all the political parties need to show political will to give citizens their deserved place. Because it’s about them, right?
Translation: N. Cvetkovska