PRESS-CENTER Threats, violation of secrecy of voting and other irregularities in Constituency 3 in CIVIL’s preliminary report
Constituency 3 includes the following municipalities: Kumanovo (18 polling stations), Kriva Palanka, Stip, Kocani, Veles, Berovo, Pehcevo, Probistip, Delcevo, Petrovec, Caska, Cesinovo-Oblesevo, Zrnovci, Karbinci, Zelenikovo, Ilinden, Sveti Nikole, Kratovo, Vinica, Gradsko…
According to the unofficial final results published by the State Election Commission in Constituency 3 the VMRO-DPMNE Coalition has won 10 seats, the We Can Coalition 9 and Levica (The Left) 1 seat. In Constituency 3, SDSM has won 66,853 votes, the VMRO-
DPMNE Coalition 71,551, DUI 3,331, the Alliance for Albanians and Alternative 992, Levica (The Left) 6,939 and DPA 242 votes.
In the reports processed so far of CIVIL’s observers who observed in Constituency 3, 65 irregularities have been noted in several categories. Currently, dozens of other reports of observers are being processed, as well as citizen complaints. According to the classification of events, problems noted in the Voters Register, violation of secrecy of voting, unlawful behaviour of observers, unlawful work of the bodies of the State Election Commission, as well as unlawful behaviour of citizens. There has also been a report for disobeying the protocols for protection against the coronavirus.
Threats, pressures, agitation
In Kocani, a case was reported (a voter testified for our observer, there is an audio recording) that a member of the MEC, Lazar Stefanov, at the same time also personal security of MP candidate from VMRO-DPMNBE’s list, Mile Lefkov, was agitating and intimidating voters in front of polling stations 0837 and 0838, primary school Ljupco Santov, to vote for number 14.
In Kocani, a case was also reported that a member of the election administration, at the same time recognized as a DUI party activist, had been checking lists behind polling station 0856 in the primary school Malina Pop-Ivanova. This person, according to the report of the observer, was Angelco Tasev, employed in Macedonian Post. The same person, had been detained during the day by the police for agitating and later dismissed.
Another case was noted in Kocani, where a VMRO-DPMNE observer had been noticed leaving polling station 0835 after every 10 to 20 voters had voted, making calls on the phone and repeating this action more than 10 times. It is assumed that this person was telling who is voting, while the election board warned this person that if he didn’t stop they would register this in the minutes. Still, such a thing was not written in the minutes, and it is not confirmed whether such behaviour had stopped.
Outside polling station 2324 in Karbinci party activists had been noticed acting as if they were taking selfies in front of the polling station, but had actually been taking pictures of all those voting. Our observer is caught in one of the photos.
In polling station 863 in Kocani, an observer of VMRO-DPMNE was noticed directing voters who to vote for.
In Berovo, on the other hand, a party vehicle of VMRO-DPMNE was noticed near polling station 0014 in the village of Rusino bringing voters and talking to an official at the place of the voting.
From what we received from our observers in Veles, near polling station 2178, 2179 and 2180 located in a municipal facility, former school, there had been grouping of members of the association Anton Lazov Kjoseto and supporters of VMRO-DPMNE in the yard, who at the same time had also been accredited observers by the SEC. They had left after the police intervened. They had been noticed grouping again in front of another building with polling stations. According to information of the observer, some of them had been involved in the events that took place on April 27, 2017.
Problems with the Voters Register are noticed in several places: in Probistip 3 cases (polling station 1565, 1536, 1531), in Stip 1 (polling station 2282), in Delcevo 5 (polling station 581, 582, 583), in Pehcevo 4 (polling station 0024), in Petrovec 2 cases (polling station 2386, 2384).
Voters in these municipalities did not figure in the Voters Register, such as the cases of Delcevo, where they had ID cards issued in February 2020, but still didn’t figure on the Voters register. Furthermore, the reasons are expired ID cards, but the most worrying cases are when despite valid documents some voters were not on the Voters Register. All these voters have been referred to the SEC where they have been told that they can submit a complaint, but not vote! This is a violation of one of the basic human rights, the right to vote, guaranteed by the Constitution and the laws of the RNM.
Two voters of Probistip have submitted complaints to the SEC, but both have been rejected. From Stip there are 7 complaints, all rejected. From Delcevo, Petrovec and Pehcevo there is no complaint. This means that voters have simply given up their right to vote, not wanting to expose themselves to bureaucratic procedures with an uncertain ending.
Violation of secrecy of voting
Calling out loud the names of the voters, shouting out loud who they voted for, photographing the ballots, are just some of the ways in which the secrecy of voting was violated in constituency 3.
One case of photographing the ballot was noted in Kocani (polling station 0835). A member of the Election Board had noticed it, reacted and registered this in the minutes. The police had also been additionally called, but the voter had managed to escape from the polling station.
In Probistip a case of photographing the ballot in polling station 1531 has been reported, in the primary school Braka Miladinovci. Here the case was noticed by an observer who had reacted late, after the voter had put the ballot in the ballot box. The Election Board registered this in the minutes and the police had been called. At 8.46 pm on July 15 the police had taken the voter from the polling station.
In Delcevo, polling station 0572, primary school Vanco Prke, an observer of CIVIL noted one voter telling another voter who to vote for.
Members of an Election Board or observers of political parties had been calling out loud the names of the voters in polling station 2281 (3 cases), 2266 (1 case) 2293 (1), 2275 (2), 2280 (1), 2276 (1) in Stip, thereby violating the secrecy of voting.
CIVIL Monitoring Team