OP/ED: The SEC will be completed in March, is the referendum happening sooner?

OP/ED: The SEC will be completed in March, is the referendum happening sooner?

By Aleksandra M. Mitevska Nezavisen Vesnik

According to this, in February, representatives of SDSM, VMRO-DPMNE, DUI and possibly Besa are expected to enter into discussions on the new composition of the Commission and possible corrections in the Election Code for changing the current concept of the election administration. Thus, the entire procedure for appointing new members, including the competition to be announced by the Parliament, could end in the first half of March.

The election of SEC members requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament, so Prime Minister Zoran Zaev estimated some time ago that he expects the issue to be resolved by a debate between the parties. In the meantime, the SEC has been out of office since early December, since only Ermira Asani Salija from Besa remained a member of the highest election body, while the opposition VMRO-DPMNE boycotted the parliament.

There is no information why the hastening of the process of establishing the SEC is announced now, that is, whether it is related to the eventual referendum on the name, or, the completion of the Commission should be the starting point for the renewal of the political dialogue in the country. Experts say that, technically speaking, the name referendum can be held by July, by the NATO summit in Brussels, where Macedonia expects to receive an invitation for membership, after a decade of stalling in this regard, for which the main problem was the dispute with Greece.

However, our interlocutors point out that if in July the hopes for opening the door of the Alliance for Macedonia are realized, then the referendum would be politically more costly in the period when the country’s membership is ratified, given the campaign that should precede the plebiscite clarification.

The other explanation is that it is frivolous for the country for to be left without an electoral commission so long. Therefore, talks are scheduled to finally complete the SEC, without it, a referendum cannot be implemented on any issue at local level, nor fill any vacant parliamentary seat, and at the moment it cannot be discussed at any possible extraordinary elections, given of the fact that the next regular election cycle is in a year (for the head of state).

In the past two months, only the employees in the SEC administration go to work. However, although the Commission is virtually discharged, the expert service decided to mark the appropriate Global Election Day – February 1. To this end, the SEC Secretariat organizes an Open Educational Day for Citizens on Thursday. Then, according to the SEC, all interested citizens can come to the premises of the Commission to attend an educational presentation on the exercise of their right to vote, with special emphasis on keeping the voter list, and they can ask questions to the employees.

For this purpose, three terms are set for tomorrow.

At the beginning of December, eight members of the SEC submitted their resignations. The president of the Commission, Aleksandar Cicakovski, made the first move, followed by the representatives of SDSM – Violeta Duma and Igor Milev. Their example was followed by Subhi Jakupi from DUI and experts Atanas Urumov and Redzep Prekopuca, and finally Silvana Boneva and Sasko Srcev from VMRO-DPMNE. If the current SEC concept remains, which was determined by the changes in the Electoral Code that came out of the Przino agreement, SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE should propose two new members to the Commission, DUI – one, and three should be experts, which will have to be chosen by the future president and deputy chairman of the Commission, and one of them should be from the Albanian ethnic community. One seat in the SEC is envisioned for the largest opposition party in the Albanian bloc. That chair, before the last local elections, was first filled by Besa, and previously belonged to DPA./IBNA