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News 15 Nov 16

Macedonia Clamps Down on 'Trick' Candidates' Lists

Macedonia’s Electoral Commission has ended the old practice whereby a small, obscure social democratic party proposed lists of candidates in elections whose names resembled those of the main opposition Social Democrats - presumably to trick them into not voting for them.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
Macedonia's State Electoral Commission. Photo: MIA

Macedonian voters in the December early elections will no longer run the risk of being tricked into voting for the wrong party.

Macedonia’s State Electoral Commission, the DIK, on Monday rejected the list of candidates submitted by the small and obscure Social Democratic Party of Macedonia, SDPM.

All nine members of the DIK voted to reject the SDPM list, quoting administrative omissions and suspected forgery.

“The SDPM lists have old dates and the signatures of some of the candidates do not match those in their ID cards,” DIK member Igor Milev said, also proposing raising criminal charges against the SDPM leader, Branko Janev.

Janev was not available for comment on Monday.

As in the last few elections, the party’s list contains names that closely resemble those of the candidates of the main opposition centre-left party, the Social Democratic Party, SDSM.

This means, for example, that Radmila Shukuroska, from the SDPM, won’t be allowed to compete with the SDSM's vice-president, Radmila Shekerinska.

Stevo Prodanovski will also not be able to confuse voters into thinking that he is the SDSM’s former presidential candidate, Stevo Pendarovski.

This small, almost unknown party has been stirring up trouble for the main Social Democrats in several elections.

“We have been having a lot of problems with this ‘phantom’ party in the past. It managed to trick several thousand voters in every election with these fake lists,” SDSM spokesperson Petre Shilegov said.

Since 2006, it has routinely put up names that closely match those of the SDSM candidates, which the Social Democrats said was a trick invented by their right-wing rivals, the ruling VMRO DPMNE party.

Macedonia holds early general elections on December 11. They follow the eruption of political crisis that centres on SDSM claims that the ruling party was behind the illegal wiretapping of about 20,000 people, which it denies.

For the purpose of general elections, Macedonia is divided into six electoral districts. Each party proposes a list of 20 candidates for each district.

The number of candidates from the party’s list that will enter the 123-seat assembly is determined by the proportion of votes it gains. The diaspora elects three MPs.

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