The State Election Commission on the wall of shame

The State Election Commission on the wall of shame
There was an avalanche of criticism in the past few days, after it was revealed that the members of the State Election Commission have received 30 monthly salaries in 18 months for their “hard“ work, work that was constantly criticized by international organizations.  No matter how many excuses they offer, how sorry they are, or how much they curse, they will not change the fact that they have to pay the price for the message that, after the change of power in December of last year, the public sent to those who are now implementing the laws in Macedonia. And the message is – Enough!

The fact that thousands marched on the streets for months and protested against the abuse, corruption, unjust wealth and financial exhaustion of citizens at the expense of filling the pockets of politicians, apparently has not been a lesson learned in Macedonia. In addition to granting bonuses at three o'clock in the morning to keep it secret from the public, the SEC will have to pay the price for all those who, in this short period of time, have irritated and played with the public’s oversensitivity.  The individuals that took trips around the world, those who flew in business class, who got political functions they didn’t deserve, got theirs and quickly forgot the promises and expectations they made before they got their positions in the country. According to some estimates, the secret SEC session for bonuses is equal to a criminal association against public funds, while according to other estimates, it reflects the situation in a society in which morality and ethics are at the bottom, and personal interests are high up on a pedestal.

On the other hand, some of the SEC members’ attempt to confront the citizens’ rage has shown that they lost their contact with reality and their reason. Defending their actions, using stress and overtime, in a country where textile workers are being exploited, and many other categories of citizens can only dream of regular salaries and paid overtime, is nonsense. The talk about deserving compensation, not one but thirty justified compensations, when the bonuses they granted to themselves come from loans the Government is borrowing once a month, is political nonsense. And mentioning curses, funeral candles and wheat, only because their decision was publicly criticized, tells just how much the SEC members distanced themselves from the people, how they became victims to their own sense of greatness and importance, and how much they mixed everything up, when it comes to their mission and why their work has an exclusive role in these difficult and troubling times.

It is a fact, however, that public’s expectations of the SEC do not correspond with reality, either. Some members of this commission continuously act as if the State Election Commission is their own private business, using their vote as a stock exchange action. What was surprising this time was that, after long nights of quarrels and oppositions over their party's affiliations, they were all united when it came to the bonus and their intention to hide the decision from the public.

The fact that the decision was legal does not free anyone from responsibility in their indifference about the citizens’ need for change and the need for a new political culture. Even more when the entire system of the previous government, which was assessed as authoritarian, rested on the laws adopted in its time, even with a democratic omen. The most devastating thing in this scandal is that, twenty years a model is required to make the SEC become a non-partisan, credible and transparent institution, and the only thing it has shown so far, despite the many changes in its composition and form, is that only personal interest works in it no problem.

The most devastating thing about this scandal is that, even after twenty years, we are still searching for a model on how to make the State Election Commission credible, transparent and an institution that is not influenced by any political party, while all this commission showed so far, aside from the many changes in their personnel and membership, is that the only thing functioning flawlessly is personal interest.

Slobodanka Jovanovska

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