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Free and Fair Elections

24-10-2017 - Prishtina

Local elections fulfilled the election standards, pressure exercised on voters of Serb-majority municipalities, whereas CEC is again late in informing

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Democracy in Action (DiA) considers that local elections that took place on 22 October 2017 have fulfilled both international and local standards for organizing elections. The process was peaceful and citizens were free and safe to exercise their right to cast their vote. There is an exception of Serb-majority municipalities, where was exercised pressure to the voters of the same community regarding their votes. A part of this pressure came from voters who in an organized manner came from Serbia to vote in these municipalities. A number of irregularities have been evidenced, but they generally did not damage the overall election process.

A more serious problem during the election process was the discrepancy between ballots for mayors and those for Municipal Assemblies, which was verified through the stack of ballots. These cases were mostly present in the Municipality of Mitrovica. Another problem during the Election Day occurred in the Municipality of Deçan, where stamps distributed to polling stations were withdrawn as they were mistakenly distributed. This resulted in temporary interruption of voting process. Both these types of irregularities were not present in previous election processes; therefore, we ask CEC for an official explanation.

Irregularities identified during the Election Day in the entire territory of the Republic of Kosovo were as follows: i) presence of propagating material near polling stations; ii) lack of election material; iii) presence of unauthorized persons; iv) photographing of the vote; v) family voting; vi) assisting voters more than one time; vii) voting outside the polling booth. Problems with voters’ lists remain evident.

Our observers reported for a number of cases where citizens faced difficulties to find their names in the voters’ lists, as well as identified the names of their dead family members in the list. This damages the public trust on the accuracy of voters’ list.

DiA positively praises the work of many members of Polling Stations Councils (PSCs) for taking immediate measures to address problems that accompanied the voting and counting process. More qualitative training sessions are exceptionally necessary, as a part of PSCs members are not fully familiarized with voting procedures and in particular completing forms and packaging materials. 

DiA considers that CEC delayed to inform and educate citizens about the voting process and method, namely only one week before elections, despite the fact that local elections of 2017 have been organized in regular time-frame.

 

OSCE mission in these elections as well assisted CEC in organizing elections in 4 municipalities in the north of the country. In these municipalities was allowed the identification of voters with documents from the state of Serbia, which is in contradiction with the local legislation. 

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