Macedonia Local Elections – Lessons Learned

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Local elections in the Republic of Macedonia were held on 24 March, second round on 7 April and re-voting on several polling stations on 21 April 2013.

On 13-14 and 17-18 June, the OSCE Mission to Skopje in cooperation with State Election Commission (SEC) supported the organization of regional workshops in Ohrid and Skopje, which gathered 57 out of 81 invited presidents of MECs to reflect on the election administration processes and the coordination with SEC. The aim was to identify good practices, challenges and possible irregularities that happened in the conduct of elections, as well as the areas that need further improvement. The workshops focused on issues such as: planning of election activities, meeting deadlines, communication and information sharing, voter list management, financing of the elections, reporting, legislative framework and strategic priorities to improve the work of MECs. The participants also reviewed the ODIHR’s Preliminary Statement on Local Elections 2013.

The SEC will consider the conclusions and recommendations collected in the workshop and based on that will present proposals to the Ministry of Justice to further improve the election legislation.

The agenda was organized defining the challenges, weaknesses and problems in the electoral process in the areas of:

  • Logistic and preparation of activities, cooperation between different structural levels of the election administration (SEC, MEC and EB), evaluation of the Electoral Board performance, coordination of tasks between SEC and MEC.
  • Identifying and preventing irregularities: Family voting and proxy voting, Voters List, Identified cases of intimidation.
  • Suggestions to improve the electoral process and existing instructions and by-laws
  • How to improve the quality of the training delivery for the election administration, training manuals and handbooks.

Prior to the workshop the facilitators distributed questionnaires to each MEC president asking their feedback on different election related issues. 66 out of 81 MECs have responded to the questionnaire. The facilitators presented the summary of the results of the questionnaires to the participants and distributed copies of the report as introduction to the discussion.

As a result of the discussions, the facilitators decided to collect and to describe different cases that have happened during the elections and cannot be resolved by the existing Electoral code. The list of those cases will be further delivered to the election legislation working group and SEC in order to prepare suitable guidance before the next elections.

Facilitators of the workshop were Ljupka Guguchevska – training adviser at SEC and Zage Filipovski – elections officer at OSCE Mission to Skopje.

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