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Macedonia: Online Guide to Parliamentary Elections 2011

Early parliamentary elections in the Republic of Macedonia are being held today, on June 5, 2011. The leading candidates for the office of prime minister are the incumbent Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of the right-wing VMRO-DPMNE party and Radmila Šekerinska of the social-democratic SDSM. Gruevski has held the top executive office since 2006.

The most popular election-related Twitter hashtags in Macedonian seem to be #izbori, #izborimk, #ferizbori, #mojotizbor (“elections,” “electionmk,” “fair election,” “my choice”), and #zgjedhje (“elections”) in Albanian.

Global Voices has already covered Macedonia's tortuous road to the early elections of 2011: here, here, here, and here. A novelty in this round of the elections is expanding the voter base to the diaspora.However, only several thousand out of hundreds of thousands of Macedonian citizens living abroad have managed to register to vote during during the hasty preparation season.

This has led to controversies over the legitimacy of additional members of parliament (MPs), who can win a post with just a few hundred diaspora votes, as opposed to tens of thousands in Macedonia proper.

Electoral constituencies in Macedonia. Source: Wikipedia.

Electoral constituencies in Macedonia. Source: Wikipedia.

The State Electoral Commission [mk] is the main institution in charge of the elections. It is chaired by a representative of the opposition, but is stacked with government supporters who have so far directed the internal decision-making by out-voting.

Logo of State Electoral Commission Macedonia

Logo of State Electoral Commission Macedonia

Monitoring missions and incident reporting

     

  • OSCE supports 300-strong ODIHR international monitoring mission, while the Macedonian NGO MOST provides monitoring with 3,500 domestic observers.
  • At least two implementations of Ushahidi provide opportunities for citizens to report irregularities, on My Choice and Fair Elections.
  • Telephone hotlines were opened by the Ombudsman [mk] (0800 54321) and anti-violence NGO Civil (075 846 211).

Voter Education

Free and Fair Elections Logo

Free and Fair Elections Logo

A number of civil society organizations run informational and educational campaigns about citizen's rights and the offers of political actors.

“What mark will we leave?”
– the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections [mk, sq] run by NDI Macedonia, Metamorphosis, MOST, Macedonian Women's Lobby, and IPD. This campaign got the political party leaders to sign in to the Code of Conduct, in order to provide role models for diffusing tensions at the national and local levels, paired with a caravan of events and social media activities, inviting citizens to learn more about their rights and support democratic values during the pre-election campaign and beyond.

As part of the regional cooperation with NGOs from Bosnia and Serbia, Macedonian citizens have two new media tools for making more informed choices:

  • “Votemeter” [mk, sq] allows citizens to compare their positions on various issues to the responses by the political parties.
  • Albanian logo for Votemeter

    Albanian logo for Votemeter

  • “Truthmeter” [mk] provides analysis of the promises and statements by decision-makers and public officials.

“My choice 2011″ [mk] by MCIC, MIM and IDSCS is a comprehensive resource website with analyses of the candidates’ programs, their campaigns, media presence, and analysis of other analyses, such as pre-election ratings, etc. This website provides a directory of websites, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube outlets of the Macedonian political parties.

“I vote” [mk] – a campaign by FOSIM and Youth Educational Forum for inciting higher voter turnout as a prevention mechanism against fraud. They run a very successful Facebook competition for promotional posters and videos, creating a feedback loop of “Likes” among youth.

 

Winner of the I Vote poster competition: "Vote for your rights/better future… which the animals do not have. Vote or stay silent." The cow says, "I am not a hamburger… I would vote if I were human."

Winner of the I Vote poster competition: "Vote for your rights/better future… which the animals do not have. Vote or stay silent." The cow says, "I am not a hamburger… I would vote if I were human."

Political parties and coalitions

Like before, most political parties closed their websites 24 hours prior to the election day as part of an informal agreement to extend electoral silence online. However, most of their social media profiles remain active.

An influential Twitter user, Boris Ristovski, published an analysis of the online presence of political parties [mk] on “My Choice” last week, and has kindly provided the following list of their outlets for Global Voices:

  • New Democracy (sq: Democracia e Re)
    Web FB Twitter YouTube
  • PODEM [Rise] (mk: Партија на Обединети Демократи за Македонија – ПОДЕМ)
    Web FB Twitter YouTube
  • Social Democratic Union – SDU (mk: Социјалдемократска Унија – СДУ)
    Web FB Twitter YouTube Flickr
  • Democratic Union of Albanians – DUA (sq: Bashkimi Demokratik Shqiptar – BDSH)
    Web FB
  • Coalition VMRO-DPMNE and others (mk: Коалиција ВМРО-ДПМНЕ и други)
    Web FB Twitter YouTube Flickr
  • VMRO-Peoples Party AKA VMRO-NP (mk: ВМРО Народна партија – ВМРО-НП)
    Web FB
  • Democratic Union for Integration – DUI (sq: Bashkimi Demokratik për Integrim)
    Web FB YouTube
  • Democratic Party of Albanians – DPA (sq: Partia Demokratike Shqiptare – PDSH)
    Web FB Twitter YouTube Flickr
  • Dignity (mk: Политичка партија Достоинство – ППД)
    Web FB Twitter YouTube
  • Coalition SDSM and others (mk: Коалиција СДСМ и други)
    Web FB Twitter YouTube Flickr
  • Liberal-Democratic Party – LDP (mk: Либерално – демократска партија – ЛДП )
    Web FB Twitter YouTube Flickr
  • Democratic Right (mk: Политичка партија Демократска Десница – ППДД)
    Web FB Twitter YouTube
  • European Party of Macedonia (mk: Европска Партија на Македонија – ЕПМ)
    Web FB Twitter
  • National Democratic Rebirth (sq: Rilindja Demokratike Kombëtare – RDK)
    Web FB Twitter YouTube Flickr
  • United for Macedonia (mk: Обединети за Македонија – ОМ)
    Web FB YouTube

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