Interview with the vice chairman of the State Election Commission in FYR Macedonia, Subhi Jakupi given for IBNA international news agency
Interviewed by Naser Pajaziti
In an interview for IBNA, vice chairman of the State Election Commission (SEC), Subhi Jakupi talks about the preparation of the elections, deadlines and Electoral Code. He talks about the problems and uncertainties for the presidential and early parliamentary elections that the country and this institution are facing for the first time. Jakupi appeals for free and democratic elections to be held in a quiet campaign without tensions.
IBNA: The country has now entered the atmosphere of presidential and parliamentary elections. Is State Election Commission prepared for the process of elections, bearing in mind the fact that these double elections are a new experience?
Jakupi: SEC was anticipating parallel elections and this is now a reality. On the other hand, we are facing a challenge where for the first time, we’re holding parallel presidential elections and early parliamentary elections and we’re totally ready to succeed. All preparations have been made and we have also approved the new electoral code with the consensus of all political parties.
IBNA: There were uncertainties over the deadlines of the campaign, list of voters and other problems that sparked debates, because the electoral presidential campaign kicks off earlier, followed by the start of parliamentary electoral campaign. Do you think that everything has been overcome and will go well?
Jakupi: As far as legal deadlines for the electoral process is concerned, we have done our best. In an unanimous way, SEC decided for the campaign for the early parliamentary elections to start two days before the day that it was supposed to start, due to the first round of the presidential elections. On April 12 and April 13, there will be a pause in the parliamentary electoral campaign, in order to respect the presidential election silence. As far as other deadlines are concerned, they are in line with the Electoral Code.
IBNA: Different abuses from the government, political parties or local government emerge before and during the campaign. Is SEC monitoring this problem and will you apply sanctions?
Jakupi: As far as abuses before and during the electoral campaign by political parties are concerned, SEC has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the State Commission against Corruption and State Entity for Revision in order to take measures in cases of legal abnormalities during this period. These institutions will act on time in order to take the necessary legal measures against those who breach the electoral regulation. The Media Watchdog is also playing an important role during this period, given that it’s within the power of this institution to penalize media if there are legal breaches before and during the electoral campaign.
IBNA: Ahead of the elections, SEC has become part of the political debate. Are there tendencies or political implications in this institution that organizes the elections?
Jakupi: As far as this issue is concerned, there are certainly doses of political involvement in this institution, but bearing in mind the weight of votes, SEC does its best in order for the law to prevail in its decision making. I also hope that in these elections, SEC will prevail as an independent institution.
IBNA: Parties have fulfilled all the prerequisites to participate in the elections. What are the deadlines that they must respect about the candidacies relating to early elections?
Jakupi: As far as presidential elections are concerned, all nominations have been submitted to SEC. The electoral campaign starts on March 24 and ends on April 11, 2014, while the runoff for these elections will take place on April 27, 2014 along with early parliamentary elections. As far as legal deadlines for early parliamentary elections are concerned, they differ from the presidential ones, whereby from March 16 until March 30 we will have a public examination of electoral lists and from March 6 to March 30 list of voters who will vote in diplomatic centers will be submitted. The submission of the candidate lists will be submitted to SEC until March 29, 2014, while the electoral campaign will be held from March 5 to March 11, on March 12 and 13 we will have pre election silence and on March 14, the electoral campaign will resume to continue until March 25, 2014.
IBNA: What’s your message for this cycle of double elections for the citizens and for political parties?
Jakupi: Our message is for them to comply with the electoral regulation, to verify voters’ lists and to contribute in holding normal and democratic elections in the Republic of Macedonia, given that this process has an impact in the Euro integrating process of the country. /ibna/