WEEKLY ANALYSIS: Macedonia is “drowning” in lies and tampered facts ahead of elections

Instead of visible quality reforms that will lead us on the way to more democratic and more credible elections, this past week the Macedonian public has been a consumer of lies and tampered facts from politicians – representatives of the Government from along the lines of VMRO-DPMNE.

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By: Monika Taleska

In presenting these scenarios that are supposed to save alternate Deputy Minister Dime Spasov, pro-government media have been openly playing the role of the Government’s media instrument for creating public opinion, which is to create a perfect virtual image that every government representative, especially from along the lines of VMRO-DPMNE, is innocent and a is victim of the opposition machinery, from where, supposedly, untruths are created. Hence, the focus of the citizens has been entirely dislocated from the pre-elections and visible reform efforts in all spheres, in accordance with the Przino Agreement, which was supposed to rescue Macedonia from the long-term political crisis.

Parties are drawing up their electoral lists

The oppositional SDSM adopted its lists of candidate at the congress it held, and promoted the cadre with which it will try to win power, in coalition with bloc parties from the leftist bloc. Among them are prominent fighters of the Colorful Revolution. The choice of candidates caused turmoil among the party membership and among the general public.

While the leader of SDSM, Zoran Zaev, promised an election victory, former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and leader of VMRO-DPMNE, who is part of several criminal cases of the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) in regards to the “Wiretapping” scandal, again requested 63 seats from his electorate, at the 17 Conference of the Union of Women. In his address, he also directed criticism to the opposition, the SPO and to the international public.

Leader of DUI, Ali Ahmeti, in Tetovo at the gathering of the Forum of women of the party said that the upcoming elections of December 11, are very important and that the party has faced a very difficult mandate in the past two years, “which they would not want to be repeated again”.

Ljubco Georgievski, Ljube Boskovski and Stojance Angelov formed the coalition “VMRO for Macedonia”, promising efforts for democratization of the country, EU membership, defeating the corrupted leadership of VMRO-DPMNE and restoring the old, authentic membership of the party.

The coalition for changes and justice urged for candidate lists not to have persons who are accused or are suspects.

The SEC appeals for final checks in the Voters Register

Around 4,000 citizens have conducted public insight into the Voters Register, in the regional departments and offices of the State Election Commission (SEC) across the country. Through the web application, from the 29,858 whose records after the cross-checking and field checks have been disputed, 407 citizens have applied for registration in the Voters Register. The SEC has also sent personal letters to all the citizens individually at their home addresses. The SEC is reminding the citizens that this additional opportunity for registering is, in fact, the last one. The SEC urges all those who are on this list, and would want to vote at the upcoming elections, to check the list and to submit an application for registration, no later than November 11, an application can be sent either electronically or in the regional offices.

The SEC is also urging Macedonian citizens in the Diaspora to use the opportunity to register for voting for the early parliamentary elections by the deadline of – November 11. From the SEC, they point out that according to the provisions of the Electoral Code, one MP from the Seventh electoral unit will be elected if the list of candidates wins at least that number of votes with which an MP was elected at the last parliamentary election, more specifically 6,478 votes.

Despite the announcements made by the SEC that the Voters Register is cleared from phantom voters, citizens are reacting and recording irregularities, registering of non-existent addresses. The case in Tetovo is especially scandalous, where 259 voters have been registered at non-existing addresses, at which there are no buildings, but instead parking lots.

The OSCE – ODIHR mission has started its observation for early parliamentary elections in Macedonia with 334 observers.

CIVIL – Center for Freedom has opened an online application for election observation candidates. CIVIL will be monitoring the elections with 300 long-term and short-term observers.

 

Special Prosecutor under strong attack by government

Even though the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) has been established in accordance with the Przino Agreement, its work is constantly being obstructed by the state institutions, and this week the assumed political activity of Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva has also been put under a magnifying glass. The ruling VMRO-DPMNE accused that Janeva is SDSM cadre, publishing the alleged membership card of the prosecutor from the period when Branko Crvenkovski was leader of this party. SDSM announced that this was a forged document, and said that the prosecutor was not then, nor is now a member of this party.

The first session of the Constitutional Court with new President Nikola Ivanovski has been scheduled for Wednesday, but the Initiative for assessing the constitutionality and legality of the law on the Special Prosecutor’s Office is still not on the agenda. The initiative has been in the drawers of the court for almost a year now, despite the numerous calls from the opposition and the NGO sector.

In the meanwhile, Saso Mijalkov, former Director of the Administration for Security and Counterintelligence (UBK), appeared at the SPO with his lawyer. As a prime suspect in post-election harassment of Ljube Boskovski (in June 2011), in the case “Torture” he requested insight into the evidence material collected for the investigation and reacted to the presence of reporters in front of the building of the SPO. Mijalkov is suspected in two cases of the SPO, “Fortress” and “Vault”.

SPO’s request for precautionary measures was rejected, that is, the request for the passports to be taken away from Mijalkov, and former head of his cabinet Toni Jakimovski and Nebojsa Stajkovic, former Assistant Minister of MOI, suspected in the “Vault” case.

The SPO is still reviewing materials from the expertise and the evidence that the defense submitted to the Mayor of Bitola, Vladimir Taleski, in the “Transporter” case, which the SPO is leading also against 22 suspects, who are accused of damaging the budget of the Municipality in the amount of 360 thousand euros, through the illegal organization of school transportation. After the SPO informed the defense that the investigation on “Transporter” was completed, they received a request from the defense for the evidence to be submitted to them.

Pro-government media in the service of the government, outside professional standards

The media sphere is polarized and far from the declared efforts of the relevant political subjects, signatories to the Przino Agreement, on media reforms.

This past week, the “Spasov” scandal confirmed that there are no reforms that would mean restoring of professional standards and principles for objective, true and balanced informing of the public. Pro-government media have stood in an open defense of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE and alternate Minister Dime Spasov. Comments with fierce attacks on the opposition and accusations that SDSM and Minister Oliver Spasovski are creators of false scenarios, resemble a film that is directed with media scenography.

Monika Taleska

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