Around 30 thousand invalid votes in the presidential elections

Around 30 thousand invalid votes in the presidential elections

IBNA Special Report/Almost all the ballot papers didn’t have problems that led to invalidity, but to an intentional destruction of the ballot paper. Invalid ballot papers had names of other politicians, sports people and people from art written on them. Many others had drawings, caricatures and messages that conveyed discontent and mockery. Vladimir Putin, Sali Berisha, Edi Rama, Chuck Norris, Slobodan Milosevic and other names were written, underlined and circled by voters in ballot papers. Many ballot papers had vulgar calls and messages, political insults and different phrases.

Skopje, April 16, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

Around 30 thousand votes have resulted to be invalid in the April 13 presidential elections in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This category of citizens who went to vote didn’t take under consideration any of the candidates, as they made the ballot paper invalid with their own hand. Analysts say that this category of people has expressed its discontent against all parties and their presidential candidates.

Officially, according to the State Election Commission, around 25 thousand votes have been declared invalid. But IBNA learnt from commissioners in several constituencies that there are also 5 thousand contested ballot papers which have been accepted by representatives in commissions as valid.

But what did the discontented citizens or undecided ones do to annul their vote? What’s clear is that almost all the ballot papers didn’t have problems that led to invalidity, but to an intentional destruction of the ballot paper. Invalid ballot papers had names of other politicians, sports people and people from art written on them. Many others had drawings, caricatures and messages that conveyed discontent and mockery. Vladimir Putin, Sali Berisha, Edi Rama, Chuck Norris, Slobodan Milosevic and other names were written, underlined and circled by voters in ballot papers. Many ballot papers had vulgar calls and messages, political insults and different phrases.

Abedin M., a citizen from Skopje who has voted this way, told IBNA that he came out to vote in order to exert his right of vote, but he didn’t vote any candidates. “I went to vote, but I didn’t vote for any of the candidates. But, I left a message there which expresses my discontent and my conviction. This is my revolt, because this country doesn’t have progress and every year we have elections in order to keep a mobster clan in power”, says Abedini.

Even one of the leaders of Albanian parties, RDK (National Democratic Renaissance), Rufi Osmani says that he went out to vote, although his party said that it wasn’t going to participate in the elections. He says that he went to exert his right of vote, in order to avoid panic and fear amongst the population, following the calls of the biggest Albanian party BDI (Democratic Union for Integration) to boycott the elections. “I went to vote, but I didn’t support any of the candidates, but I left a clear message: Democracy. A message for parties in power and citizens to vote freely”, said Osmani.

Stevco Jakimovski from GROM, which had its presidential candidate, expresses another concern. He says that there has been fraud with invalid ballot papers. According to him, the ballot papers in support of their presidential nominee, Zoran Popovski have been intentionally made invalid by voting commissions. “This has happened and we have information on this. We have not been able to stop this fraud, because we have not had commissioners in several constituencies”, says Jakimovski.

Non Government Association, “Most”, which has observed the elections, says that the phenomenon of invalid ballots also seen in past elections.

Darko Aleksov, head of “Most”, told IBNA that citizens have used this way to express their revolt against political parties.

“This is a way to express discontent on the developments in the country. Therefore, we, as an organization, have demanded for many years for the elections to be held with open lists, in order for the citizens to vote for the candidates and not parties in parliamentary elections”, says Aleksov.

Non government organizations that have observed the elections are expecting a growing number of those who are not content in the early parliamentary elections and the second round of the presidential elections which will be held on April 27. /ibna/