Political parties in Kosovo break the law by starting the electoral campaign before the official deadline

Political parties in Kosovo break the law by starting the electoral campaign before the official deadline

IBNA Special Report

Pristina, May 26, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

The electoral campaign for the early parliamentary elections has not yet officially started in Kosovo, but this is not stopping political parties to hold meetings with voters and to unveil their political platforms for the governance of the country. This situation has been going on for several weeks and is considered to be a pre election campaign, which is not based on the laws of the country.

Experts of electoral processes told IBNA that Kosovar political parties are misusing the current legislation, as they’re holding an electoral campaign before the official deadline.

Professor of constitutional law, Fatos Rushiti told IBNA today today that the misuse that political parties are doing comes as a result of the legal flaws, namely, the lack of clear provisions which would lead to sanctions for such actions.

“Legislation in power which regulates the electoral process and the elements of the campaign, has not determined the sanctioning measures that political parties would be subject to if they started the campaign earlier than permitted by the law. This lack of clear legal provisions has offered to political parties the possibility to abuse with it”, says Rushiti.

Prominent Kosovar analyst, Vilhard Shala told IBNA that the pre election campaign must not be the only one to undergo sanctions by the Electoral Panel of Complaints.

“Another element is also the use of public assets for the needs of the political campaigns”, says Shala. According to him, the use of public assets for the electoral campaign damages democracy in the country.

“Political parties in the local and central government are abusing with public resources during the electoral campaign. By using the official cars and other elements which they need to exert their official duties, they’re constantly breaking the law.Unfortunately, they’re not being sanctioned”, says Shala.

The Democratic Institute of Kosovo says that the electoral campaign, which has been going on for three months, is against the current electoral law, which says that the campaign in early elections lasts 10 days.

The member of the steering committee of the Institute, Petrit Zogaj said today that the electoral campaign has started three months ago and has turned into a model for parties to break the law.

Another problem that Zogaj outlines is the “use of public resources by institutions of Kosovo, on a central and local level”.

“The use of public resources by institutions of Kosovo, on a local and central level for party’s needs, is a problem. This is against the code of good conduct and other laws in force which specifically forbid the use of public sources”, says Zogaj.

The Institute also assesses that the Central Election Commission (CEC) is not informing citizens on time and it’s been very slow in the electoral process.

“We want to express our concern that CEC has delayed public information on the campaign, the way people should vote and everything that relates to the electoral process. This, due to a tender which has been initially announced, which has reached the Procurement Authority and now must wait a decision in relation to complaints that different economic operators have filed”, says Zogaj.

On the other hand, Valmir Ismajli, also from the Institute, says that this institution is getting ready to monitor the entire electoral process.

This institute has 60 observers on field which monitor the electoral campaign that political parties have started. On election day, the Institute will engage 2800 observers on field. /ibna/