Press release - AP006(2011)
Elections in ‘the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’: declaration of PACE pre-electoral mission
Strasbourg, 19.05.2011 – The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) pre-electoral delegation visited Skopje on 17-18 May to assess the state of preparations and the political climate prior to the early parliamentary elections in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” on 5 June 2011.
The pre-electoral delegation notes that the amended Electoral Code, if properly implemented, could ensure a sound legal framework for the holding of democratic elections. Nevertheless, it believes that modifying existing laws is not enough. Changes in election legislation should be supported by the clear will of the main political actors, demonstrated by concrete actions to create a climate of confidence.
In this regard, the pre-electoral delegation regrets that the amendments to the Electoral Code were adopted by the parliament by a slim majority, just two months before election day, and that all opposition parties boycotted the vote.
The delegation is satisfied that the State Election Commission (SEC), despite the recent resignation of its former President and the appointment of a new President, has been able to function without disruption. The pre-electoral delegation warned of the danger of a politicisation of the SEC’s functioning and stressed the importance of impartiality and a non-partisan approach in its work.
The delegation expresses concern regarding the accuracy of voter lists, which remains a recurring problem for all elections in the country observed by PACE since 1994. The delegation urges the authorities to continue to take all appropiate actions to ensure the accuracy of voter lists before election day.
The citizens of this country have the right to be informed in an honest and objective manner about the ideas and programmes of the political parties before giving them their mandate. In this regard, concerning the role of the media in these elections, the pre-electoral delegation considers that the news reporting environment should be much calmer, more tolerant and neutral, and that the media should avoid becoming a means of propaganda for business interests, political parties or the government.
The delegation was informed about concerns regarding possible violence, cases of intimidation, especially in public administration, the misuse of administrative resources and the need to ensure normal conditions for the free expression of the will of citizens. The delegation has been assured by the authorities of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” that all measures will be taken to avoid election-related irregularities.
Inter-ethnic tensions in general increase during election campaigns and the delegation therefore underlines the fact that all political actors bear a great responsibility when elections take place in a multi-ethnic society.
The delegation met with the President of the Republic Gjorge Ivanov, the President of the Assembly Trajko Veljanoski, the Minister of the Interior Gordana Jankuloska, the Minister of Justice Mihailo Manevski, the leaders of the main political parties standing for the elections, the Chairman of the State Electoral Committee Boris Kondarko, the President of the Broadcasting Council Zoran Stefanovski, the head and members of the delegation of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” to PACE, as well as representatives of the international community, civil society and the media.
PACE will send a delegation of 20 members to observe the early parliamentary elections on 5 June 2011.
Members of the delegation:
Jean-Charles Gardetto (Monaco, EPP/CD), head of delegation, Virág Kaufer (Hungary, SOC), Bernard Marquet (Monaco, ALDE), Jaakko Laakso (Finland, UEL).
Interparliamentary Co-operation and Election Observation Department:
Chemavon Chahbazian, mobiles: +389 78 649 236; +33 6 07 06 77 73.
Franck Daeschler, mobiles: +389 78 649 237; +33 6 50 39 29 40.
Parliamentary Assembly Communication
Tel: +33 3 88 41 31 93
Fax : +33 3 90 21 41 34