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Monitoring Committee: Statement on “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

Strasbourg, 16.05.2014 – The Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), meeting in Paris today, adopted the following declaration at the initiative of Robert Walter (United Kingdom, EDG), rapporteur on the post-monitoring dialogue with “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

“The Monitoring Committee is concerned by the decision of recently-elected members of parliament of the principal opposition party, the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), not to accept their mandates and not to recognise the legitimacy of the President of the Republic elected on 27 April 2014. The committee also deplores that the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) party, a member in the governing coalition, decided to boycott the presidential election.

The aspirations of the Macedonian people, across the political and ethnic divides, to pursue Euro Atlantic integration will only be harmed by a breakdown in the effective functioning of a democratic Parliament. The objective criticism of the elections by international observers does not negate the validity of the result.  The committee therefore urges all political parties to work together to resolve their differences and to participate in an effective democratic parliament.

The committee stresses that it is the duty of the newly elected parliament to address the serious electoral shortcomings identified by the international observers during the last presidential and parliamentary elections of 13 and 27 April 2014. The Monitoring Committee notes that fundamental freedoms were respected and candidates were able to campaign without obstruction in the parliamentary elections on 27 April. However the committee urges the authorities to look into the credible allegations of intimidation and pressure exerted on voters, in particular among public sector employees, as well as into allegations of vote-buying. The authorities should carry out due and diligent investigation and prosecute those responsible for infringements of the law.

The committee reiterates the Council of Europe’s availability to assist the Macedonian authorities to amend, in line with the Venice Commission recommendations, the electoral code and legislation that should strictly regulate the use of public resources during electoral campaigns. The parliament should also define the necessary safeguards for the separation of party and State and for an unbiased coverage of electoral campaigns by the media.

The Monitoring Committee expects both the opposition and the ruling party to live up to the confidence given to them by the voters, to fully exercise their mandate in the parliament and to restore confidence in the electoral process by adopting an indisputable electoral framework and ensuring its full implementation.”