In one week, political parties have “enriched” the campaign with 181 new videos and advertisements each on Facebook

CIVIL’s monitoring on the financing of the election campaign has determined that in the past seven days of the election campaign, more specifically, from last Monday to midnight Sunday, the parties have paid for another 181 videos and 181 sponsored contents on the social network Facebook. CIVIL’s team, in the period June 29 to July 5, has registered a total of 383 events and activities for which the parties have spent money within or outside the framework of the paid political advertising.

Like in the first period of the campaign, sponsored contents on Facebook and videos are most common. They are followed by handing out party promotional materials, at public appearances but also at homes, last week noted in 33 cases, followed by rallies and other public gathering of parties, in just 31 cases last week.

SDSM has been registered in 138 cases as a party ordering paid contents or organizing a public gathering, with VMRO-DPMNE following immediately after, in 131 cases, and the Alliance for Albanians coming in third with 25 registered paid activities.

The category of contents and activities of an unknown client, as a rule against another political party, is more numerous in the activities than all the other parties. Of 23 contents of the campaign for which the client is unknown, 20 were against SDSM, two intended to slander VMRO-DPMNE, and one against all parties and politicians, but with VMRO-DPMNE’s slogan.

Last week the monitoring noted 13 videos produced for slandering a political campaign, or videos for a “black campaign” against a party. Seven had been ordered by VMRO-DPMNE, four by SDSM, and two, each against all of the previous parties, ordered by an unknown client.

In the past week, unlike the period at the beginning of the campaign, no allegations have been noted of vote-buying. On the other hand, the monitoring team has noted sponsored contents on infrastructural projects, which could be contrary to the Electoral Code and the Law on Prevention of Corruption and Conflict of Interests. Namely, on July 2, the monitoring team noted that Teuta Arifi posted on Facebook a sponsored post with information on the start of a municipal project for reconstruction of a primary school in Mala Recica. The next day, the monitoring registered that on the Facebook page of the Mayor of the Municipality of Gazi Baba, Boris Georgievski, a sponsored post with a promotional video had been posted about the infrastructural projects of the municipality.

The State Commission for Prevention of Corruption and Conflict of Interests (SCPC) reminded in two occasions before the start of the campaign about the legal limitations of the activities in the election period:

“Initiation of construction works sponsored by budgetary or public funds, or with funds of public enterprises or other legal entities that use state capital, including: new infrastructure amenities such as roads, waterworks, long-distance transmission lines, sewerage, sports playgrounds and other facilities or facilities for social activities - schools, kindergartens and other facilities cannot be performed unless budgetary funds are previously provided for that purpose or it is part of an implementation of a legally established annual programme for the current year”.

The monitoring has registered two cases of political rallies organized in school buildings – gatherings organized by the Alliance in the villages of Zhelino and Chelopek. The team has noted several party banners placed contrary to the legally prescribed norms, but also several cases of “craftiness” of the parties, in order to achieve greater visibility. For example, pre-election posters of SDSM candidate Fanica Nikolovska have been put up on trees and poles throughout most of Tetovo, a poster of the party Christian Brotherhood has been put up on an electric transformer in the neighborhood Small Paris, Bitola, a poster of the political party VMRO-DPMNE at a bus stop in the village of Bistrica in Bitola…

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