Aleksandar Novakoski. Attorney at Law, Law office Novakoski.
Civil society is one of the crucial segments of a society living, organizing of citizens, their free integration and association, through which they manifest and certify their freedom and independence, as well as reflect the freedom of society. In the electoral process, the civil department is integral factor for regular elections.
This process should be permanent, coordinated and should cover all segments from the civil society and citizens as a whole electoral body.
In the Republic of Macedonia there is a long tradition of free and smooth organization of the civil process. There is also a good legal framework and great number of non-government organizations which are direct or indirect participants in the elections. Their work nowadays, gains more essential and greater significance.
Taking into consideration the fact that the international institutions and organs strongly support the civil sector and its work in the electoral process in the Republic of Macedonia, gives me the right to convince you that those vulnerable fields during elections, such as observation by nonpartisan observers, vulnerable groups education (young voters, women, citizen from the rural areas, etc.) inevitably are mostly covered by these non-government organizations.
I consider that this is the key and inevitable part of raising the awareness for elections and every ones’s perception about the meaning of the electoral process improvement.
There are international standards, practices, international contracts, agreements, recommendations and opinions. However, in my opinion the most important are not only the standards to be stated, but also to be entered deeper in the sphere of civil society, but the question is whether it is prepared to satisfy all challenges that the electoral process brings.
The role of these organizations in the elections in Macedonia is, in my opinion, firstly, the non-governmental organizations, in our country, can be freely established if they fulfill the requirements set by our legislation, I am referring to those which are professionally dedicated to observing the elections in the last few years and are part of the working groups at all levels, for example changes of the electoral legislations, modifications and bringing laws concerning the electoral problems and other activities.
They carry out their own analysis and give their own reports, but recently, have partner relationships, which is the highest level of cooperation between the non-governmental sector and the Government or the Election Commission, which gives them rights and responsibilities too, since they are actively involved in these processes they are responsible to express their arguments for improving of the election matters, especially at the moment of preparations of the work documents.
Principles and rules must be applied by the non-governmental sector as well, regardless of their role and influence, the state has to give up from them and the critical mass of membership of those non-governmental sectors should clearly recognize party, state and citizens’ needs. That is the only way a free society to be built and the confidence in the institutions and other segments of the society to be strengthened.
Non-governmental organizations conduct many projects, trainings with special target of the so-called vulnerable groups, but lately it is felt that apart from their inclusion in the said projects, as they like to intrude themselves as parallel institution of the authorized organs in conducting elections even more with every next election.
This is neither good for the state nor the civil sector, because these situations are characteristic for states where the freedom is seriously impaired and consequently the confidence in the institutions.