Deskoska: Two options to be considered if voter turnout in Sunday’s presidential elections is low

If voter turnout in Sunday’s presidential elections is low, two options are likely to be considered – either the head of state to be elected in direct elections without a required threshold in the second round or by MPs in Parliament, said Justice Minister Renata Treneska – Deskoska.

Justice Minister Deskoska was asked as to whether changes to the Constitution were being mulled regarding the election of president if turnout on April 21 and May 5 is below the required threshold.

“A recommendation of the Venice Commission says the turnout threshold in the Constitution on the election of president is inadequate and has to be removed. It is a recommendation that is being repeated since the previous elections. Changing the Constitution in order to simplify the election of president is something that has been already recommended by the OSCE/ODIHR, as well. There are two options – one option is voters to elect a president in direct elections in which there’s no required turnout threshold in the second round. It means that whoever gets more votes wins, which leaves no room for boycott. The other option involves an election of president in Parliament. Both options, although different, are possible and they exist in comparative law,” Minister Deskoska told reporters after a conference on mediation in Skopje.

Under the Constitution, a presidential candidate could win in the first round only if s/he had been voted by a majority of all eligible voters. Of 1,808,131 registered voters, at least 904,066 should cast their votes on April 21.

If neither candidate won the required majority in the first round, the two candidates with the most votes would vie for votes in the runoff.

The candidate who won the majority of votes would be elected president if at least 723,253 people (over 40%) cast their votes.

If neither of the two candidates got the required number of votes in the second round, the whole procedures had to be done all over again.