Tensions and electoral incidents in the last days of the campaign

Tensions and electoral incidents in the last days of the campaign

Skopje, April 22, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

The electoral campaign for the early parliamentary elections and that for the second round of the presidential elections in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has entered the final phase.

This coming Sunday, the country is expected to know the name of the new president and the new governing majority.

Friday marks the last day of the campaign, while Saturday will be marked by electoral silence.

Tensions have been growing as the election day approaches. Several electoral offices have been subject to vandalism in the past two days. The electoral office of the Democratic Union for Integration (BDI) has  been destroyed in a village in the east of the country dominated by Turkish community. Meanwhile, there’s also been vandalism in the quarter of Cair in Skopje in the offices of the two Macedonian parties, VMRO-DPMNE and Macedonian Social Democratic League (LSDM).

The campaign has also become tense in social networks. The two parties in power, VMRO-DPMNE and BDI have been the target of criticism. Many people are saying that these two parties are addressing threats to the citizens.

Such concerns for threats have also been expressed by the Albanian party, BDI. This party says that the Albanian community and other minorities in the eastern part of the country are being threatened.

Harsher language by the majority and Macedonian opposition

The Macedonian opposition has started to use a stronger language. It has warned that if in the second round of the elections, institutions will act based on the VMRO-DPMNE scenarios, then all options will be open. “All our options and our decisions will be open for the possibility of boycott, for the non recognition of results and to seek democracy on the streets, but there’s also another option, that of the victory on April 27”, declared the leader of LSDM, Zoran Zaev.

As far as these warnings are concerned, prime minister and leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski says that the opposition and its leader are in panic. “They’re in panic and this is why they invent stories. But, we will endure them another few days. In this situation, the biggest opposition party, LSDM is ahead of going bust”, says Gruevski, who demands more mobilization and votes for his party and the presidential candidate, George Ivanov.

Tense campaign even among Albanians

A tense political situation is also ruling among the Albanian political camp. Following the meeting of the leader of Albanian opposition, Menduh Thaci (leader of PDSH-Democratic Albanian Party) with prime minister Gruevski, a strong reaction has come from the other Albanian party, BDI.

Thaci has declared that he will be part of the governing coalition after April 27, but BDI led by Ali Ahmeti  has declared that the Albanian party who will receive most of the votes will be part of the next government.

PDSH raises the alarm that there’s a concerning situation on the field, but according to this party, BDI is exploiting the mechanisms of power and it’s intimidating people into voting this party. “BDI is terrorizing the population, by demanding their votes. Lists are being drafted, forcing the citizens to vote them. When the free vote of the citizens is violated, then there’s no more democracy. I appeal for this politics to be penalized on April 27, as it’s based on threats and blackmail”, declared the leader of PDSH, Menduh Thaci.

Analysts warn scenarios, citizens want stability

Political analysts point out the tense situation and talk about possible scenarios until the end of the elections. University professor, Fatos Rushiti told IBNA that he predicts different scenarios, which may even include the non recognition of the result by political parties.

“Recently, we have heard the warnings coming from the opposition, according to which elections may be boycotted if negative results are received. The current parties in power, VMRO-DPMNE and BDI are holding big campaigns, as they’ve spent millions of Euros. They’re exploiting all the mechanisms available to receive the votes of the electorate. Promises, pressure, fraud and intimidation are the instruments being used in the past few days on the field and which have been reported by NGOs and citizens themselves. The latest reactions of the opposition show that the epilogue of these elections will not be positive and the tense climate will continue even after April 27 as a result of these elections”, says Fatos Rushiti, lecturer in the State University of Tetovo.

“Citizens want to follow the campaign and the political offers in a quiet situation and not through the language of violence and triumphing messages coming from political rallies. I believe that voters must be left to decide freely and not to be provoked”. Natasa says that “there’s a general exhaustion of the citizens, due to the social and economic crisis” and adds: “Let the best win on April 27. What’s important is for things to move forward, by offering better alternatives for businesses, for the creation of new jobs and to develop democracy”, says the Macedonian businesswoman. /ibna/