The State Election Commission is ready to hold the presidential elections, whose first round is scheduled for Sunday. The voting material produced by the Bitola-based printing office Kiro Dandaro arrived in Skopje, from where it will be deployed through 80 municipal election commissions throughout the country.
“Everything is going smoothly and I think that on Sunday there will be no problems in terms of the quality of the voting material,” said SEC President Oliver Derkoski.
He denied the fake news about the appearance of the ballot, published by social media.
“The ballot includes the flag of our country, the candidates’ names, their numbers, and the symbols of the political parties that gave their approval concerning these symbols. There are no other markings on the ballot, and there is no need for the public to be misled,” Derkoski said.
Exactly 1,808,131 registered voters have the right to vote on April 21, and then to use their civil rights again and elect one of the three presidential candidates in the second round on May 5. 3.480 polling stations will be open for voting. On Saturday, voters from the Diaspora will vote on 32 polling stations in diplomatic consular offices, with 1,782 registered voters. 3,583 sick and disabled people and 1,600 prisoners placed in prison or house arrest will vote tomorrow, as well as seven displaced persons who applied to the SEC for voting.
The general impression of the institutions and organizations that monitor the election processes is that, even with minor remarks, conditions are provided for fair and democratic voting, which is one of the conditions for the start of accession negotiations with the European Union. According to them, the campaign was fair, the administration and the media were not pressured as before, and government officials tried to give their personal support to Stevo Pendarovski and express it out of working hours, and without using the official vehicles and resources provided by their office.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office confirms that this year its prosecutors have much less work in relation to reports of violations of election rules.
“VMRO-DPMNE reported three cases, which are deployed to a competent prosecutor and are inspected. The reports are for the latest case “Big Eye”, then the case with the citizen from Gostivar who threatened with a gun to the SEC, and for seizing of election material in the Aerodrom municipality”, emphasized the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The non-governmental organization Civil does not have any major objections to the campaign’s current progress, but they warn of strong presence of hate speech in the pre-election and public communication. They demand the media and the public to condemn it, and the SEC and the prosecution to sanction this kind of expression, reminding that hate speech leads to hate crimes, and the consequences are inconceivable.
“Some of the presidential candidates use hidden, but sometimes even open, hate speech. This is most often noted in the public appearances of presidential candidate Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova and the senior representatives of the party that supports her,” said the NGO Civil and added that on the other hand, one of the participants at Pendarovski’s support meeting threatened to go to the SEC with a gun, and while DUI ministers are running a local campaign in Debar, they threaten citizens of Debar that the city will get better infrastructure only if their candidate for mayor wins the local elections.
“Hate speech is not freedom of speech, it’s quite the opposite. Election campaigns are paid from the state budget. Political and other subjects involved in public communication do not have the right to abuse social media, other media outlets and public space for spreading hatred and introducing fear and insecurity among citizens,” concluded the non-governmental organization.
The Anti-Corruption Commission received complaints from VMRO-DPMNE, but after the review, it found irregularities in the payment of 1.25 million euros to the winegrowers when the elections were already scheduled, and opened an investigation into the payment of 27 million euros to tobacco farmers for last year’s harvest, while the mayor of Stip will have to explain why in the middle of a election campaign he was giving away firewood to socially disadvantaged groups of people in the city.
Ramka: Transcripts from polling stations cannot be copied
Bitola-based printing office “Kiro Dandaro” again this year received the task of preparing the entire election material for the upcoming election process.
“The voting material is made at the highest quality and safety level. Ballot papers have 21 protection and it is impossible to forge them. There is special protection for the original transcripts and they cannot be corrected nor copied. The printing office also prepared the voting material for the extraordinary local elections for mayors in Ohrid, Debar and Novo Selo, said the printing office’s director, Dragi Miloshevski.
Ramka: Momirovski demands solution for the application
Goran Momirovski, a spokesperson for the election headquarters of Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, asked the Ministry of Interior and the Prosecutor’s Office to solve the case as soon as possible, according to the SDSM android application: “Elections 2019” for which there are serious indications that it stores the citizens’ personal data. In addition, Momirovski added that neither the circumstances of the hacking incursion in the SEC were determined fifteen days ago when the disputed application was published, and therefore asked if there was a connection between the two things.
“The person, which was a representative of SDSM in the Commission in the SEC in 2016 and cleared the voter lists and had access to the entire record and citizens’ ID numbers, is the author of the application through which SDSM collected information from the citizens and transferred it to the server” claims Momirovski.