Time: 9:44 p.m. CEST
The second interim report of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Election Observation Mission in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” for the period April 20-May 11 informs, on May 14, the State Election Commission “must share the voter lists with the political parties, which will have five days to request any changes.”
As the OSCE reports, the voter list update “is scheduled to conclude on May 22.” Candidate registration will conclude tomorrow and the decision of SEC for non-registration “can be appealed to the Administrative Court,” OSCE says.
The EOM also notifies in the report published on May 13, the deadline for the submission of candidate lists was on May 11. Out of four major parliamentarians parties, only coalition lead by VMRO-DPMNE submitted candidate lists.
Two non-parliamentarian parties, the National Movement for Macedonia and the Social Democratic Party of Macedonia, nominated their candidates, OSCE stressed.
OSCE explains in the interim report current situation with the protests and says that, “Interethnic issues are not a prominent factor in the current political crisis.” OSCE says, “members of minority communities and parties representing them, particularly the ethnic Albanians, have been participating in protests across the country, individually, with other communities and as part of the #Протестирам (I protest) movement.”
Further, the so-called non-parliamentary bloc of smaller Albanian parties, DPA- Reform, National Democratic Revival and BESA joined the demonstrations. In some areas such as Tetovo, the protest had an inter-ethnic character, with symbols of the country’s flag and of the Albanian and Roma community displayed together, OSCE writes.
The international organization says, “The political atmosphere in the country remains tense. While the opposition and some civil society organizations are demanding a postponement of elections and calling for an increased involvement of the international community in resolving the crisis, counter-demonstrations call for elections to be held on 5 June.” The organization concludes, “all demonstrations are generally peaceful, but several arrests were made for damages caused state buildings and monuments.”
In other issues OSCE makes the following observations:
- The OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission (EOM) received credible allegations of pressure on public sector employees to attend the counterdemonstrations, no official complaints, however, have been filed;
- The State Election Commission (SEC) continues to work in a very tense political environment. As of 15 April, the two members nominated by SDSM have not participated in the SEC sessions.
- Despite a legal obligation to meet publicly, the SEC held two closed sessions, and its decisions have not been systematically published on its website. Many SEC regional offices complained about lack of resources and insufficient support from the headquarters;
- Alleged irregularities in the voter list, such as fictitious voters and other fraudulent practices, are used as one of the main arguments for the postponement of the elections. The 26 April SEC progress report on updating voter lists did not reveal evidence of voter registration fraud to date.
- Some 1.8 million voters could check only their own data electronically, but not that of other citizens as required by law. The SEC has not published the voter lists online, due to a decision of the Directorate for Personal Data Protection. Upon a SEC appeal, the Administrative Court is yet to decide on the matter.
Meanwhile, in the media, there are unconfirmed reports on the possibilities SEC to request of the President of the Assembly Trajko Veljanovski to hold Parliament plenary session on the new Election Day date. Parliamentarian Democratic Union for Integration submitted to the Constitutional Court an initiative for the canceling the decision for the parliament dissolution, which was voted with their votes in February with effect on April 7.
According to the Constitution’s article 63, after the dissolution the Parliament could convene only in the case of the state of war or state of emergency. Diplomatic efforts continue by the U.S. and the European Union ambassadors in the country to find an acceptable solution for credible elections.