This is a season of endless flirting. In their campaigns, political parties, as much as they can, tell about how much they have achieved, and even more about what they will achieve if they win the trust of the voters. CIVIL implements continuous monitoring of key political processes and events in the country in several areas, says Xhabir Deralla from CIVIL, in the eighth edition of “Election Report”.
MAIN FINDINGS OF CIVIL’S MONITORING
The monitoring of events and processes in the election context started at the beginning of 2021, and especially intensified in two phases, at the beginning of June, and later with the engagement of long-term observers on August 15.
In that longer period, several events and processes are noted, of which CIVIL particularly outlines:
- Political campaign in the election context is noted long before the start of the official election campaign.
- Black campaign with hate speech against political opponents, disinformation and manipulations.
- Adoption of electoral changes right before the start of the election process, despite the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR and national organizations like CIVIL, MOST and others.
- Disinformation and manipulating facts related to processes and events with the purpose to discredit political competitors.
LARGE NUMBER OF PARTY ACTIVITIES
Let’s see what CIVIL’s election monitoring brought in the first week of the official election campaign that started on September 27.
CIVIL’s monitoring teams in cooperation with the Editorial Office of CIVIL MEDIA, in the first week of the campaign published 10 editions of the election chronicle, moved to the section Politically OK Corral.
In this section, 19 activities of VMRO-DPMNE have been covered, 17 of SDSM, 12 of DUI, 9 of the Alliance for Albanians and Alternativa, as well as 10 activities of the smaller parties Tvoja, Grom, DOM/LDP and 8 of the independent Chance for Center and Green Human City.
VIOLATION OF ELECTION RULES
For the same period, CIVIL’s monitoring notes a large number of cases of violation of the principles of good election practices and election rules in the following categories:
- Hate speech
- Abuse of children in a political campaign
- Abuse of official position for election purposes
- Abuse of official premises for election purposes
- Violation of COVID-19 protection protocols
- Black campaign
INCIDENTS AND CASES OF GROSS VIOLATION OF ELECTION RULES:
- Shooting with firearms at the opening of the election headquarters of DUI in Cair, September 28
- A bomb thrown in the yard of a candidate for SDSM councillor list ,October 2
- Pressures for attending DUI rally by a head of an educational institution,October 1
- A fight and destroying of election material in Gradsko, September 29
HATE SPEECH AND BLACK PROPAGANDA
Target: Petre Shilegov
The black propaganda and hate speech are an accompanying element of the pre-election activities of some of the political entities participating in the local elections.
Last week there was an insulting campaign against current mayor and SDSM candidate for the City of Skopje, Petre Shilegov, which triggered comments with hate speech on the social networks.
Open and unreserved participation and support of the black campaign by prominent party officials is noted and by former or current MPs in the Macedonian Parliament.
Target: SOROS Foundation and the City of Skopje, namely, Petre Shilegov
Part of the media machinery of the opposition used the case with the Scouts camp for denigrating the SOROS Foundation, that is, through this case there is an attempt to put a black mark on the civil sector. In addition, Shilegov is also a target of hate speech in regards to this case.
Target: Zoran Zaev
A continuous target of hate speech is also the leader of SDSM, Zoran Zaev.
In all cases, it can be noted that they are well-planned and supported by certain political entities in the country.
BLACK PROPAGANDA AGAINST CIVIL SOCIETY
A black campaign is noted with disinformation and insults against civil society and CIVIL, on TV Alfa, as well as in the social networks. The black propaganda usually creates, most often disinformation, manipulation of facts and conspiracy theories, content that incite hate speech, and often also calls for violence. The black campaign has the purpose to discredit the political opponent in the election race.
Many cases of spreading disinformation have also been noticed, for which a special team within CIVIL has been formed. Some of the cases are also presented in the show “Short legs”, which has so far had three editions.
ABUSE OF EVENTS AND PROCESSES
In the political propaganda with an election context, it has been noted that certain events and processes are abused with the purpose for certain entities to gain political points in the public. Three topics are singled out as follows:
The rescue of Afghan civilians caused an avalanche of conspiracy theories and hate speech with xenophobic content and intolerance on ethno-religious grounds.
The census has been for some time and still is a topic on the basis of which various conspiracy theories and disinformation are being woven, as well as calls for a boycott, with the purpose to introduce divisions and interethnic intolerance, which are later used in the political propaganda.
The tragedy with the fire in the Covid modular hospital in Tetovo was and still is used for discrediting the political opponent.
CALLS FOR EARLY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS AND NATIONAL TOPICS
In CIVIL’s report from the first week of the election campaign, continuous calls for early parliamentary elections are noted.
The campaign is dominated by national topics, and leaders of political parties who overshadow local candidates for positions in the local government are on the ground every day.
Translation: N. Cvetkovska
This post is also available in: Macedonian