Will Macedonia become one constituency?

Will Macedonia become one constituency?
According to party sources, the model for election of deputies is one of the topics to be opened between VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM, in one of the working groups formed by the two parties, among other things, for new changes in the election regulations and for the two-third laws of the reform package.

The starting position from which the ruling SDSM begins, according to the information, is a proportional model with the state as one constituency, despite the proportional system according to which parliamentary elections have been held since 2002, but so that Macedonia is divided into six electoral regions. The Social Democrats advocated one constituency even before the last parliamentary elections in 2016, that is, during the negotiations in Przino to overcome the political crisis. . One of the issues that consumed the most energy during those negotiations between the parties was the major changes in the election regulations, which, however, did not enter the voting model.

Now SDSM is reactivating the idea of ​​one constituency, for which it expects support from the parties from the Albanian bloc and the smaller parties on the political scene, which are more suited to this model, so the votes they receive are not dispersed to other parties.

Interlocutors from SDSM believe that the issue of voting for the Diaspora can be resolved with one constituency, whose votes would flow to the candidate lists of the parties, together with the votes of the voters in the country, and each vote would have equal value. In contrast, a proportional system and a threshold of exit in the diaspora was established during the Parma negotiations, so that no MP was elected in the year 2016 - out of possible three. SDSM says they are aware that in this way big parties will lose several MPs, but that it is in the interest of democracy and pluralism in parliament. There will be more parliamentary parties, while the current model favors large political parties.

On the other hand, according to the information, SDSM and other major parties are not in favor of introducing the so-called open lists, in which the voters, besides the party, would also vote for one of the offered candidates on that list. Although such a proportional model works in many countries with a larger democratic tradition, the explanation of why it is not introduced to us is that in such a way the smaller parties would be allegedly threatened by the smaller parties at the expense of the big ones.

There is no information as to whether it would be acceptable for the new leadership of VMRO-DPMNE to transform the proportional model into one constituency. The opposition party unofficially said that they have no major objections to the voting system so far, except for the high threshold that, according to them, was set in 2016 for the expatriates, who, on the other hand, were given the opportunity to vote outside Macedonia after the arrival of VMRO- DPMNE to power. But a symbolic number of expatriates who elected one lawmaker to three constituencies appeared in the diplomatic and consular missions. However, VMRO-DPMNE is reminiscent of the old party's commitment to return to the classical majority model, explaining that this is how the personality of the candidates and their ratings in the base become apparent. However, comparative examples show that this model is less commonly applied in European countries, as opposed to the proportional one, so that its "replacement" is increasingly being used to introduce open lists.

On the other hand, there is information that there is a discussion about a possible new concept of the State Election Commission, following the latest changes that were made before the elections in 2016, when three experts entered the Commission for the first time. This issue was reportedly opened by VMRO-DPMNE, which, as unofficially stated, is pushing for the return of the previous model, when all nine SEC members were party representatives, in the last case of the four largest parties.

On the table, in the talks between the parties, according to the information, is the financing of the political entities in the direction of greater interventionism and subsidization by the state, in order to avoid misuse. It is also expected to open up the question of who will conduct the parliamentary elections, given the interim solution adopted for the vote in 2016, when a transitional technical government was formed, with the participation of the then opposition, with ministers and additional vice- ministers in several departments of importance for the electoral process (Ministry of Interior, Finance, Agriculture and Labor and Social Policy).

Тhe next parliamentary elections, as scheduled, should be held in the second half of 2020.

Aleksandra M. Mitevska

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