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MONITORING THE MEDIA DURING
ELECTION CAMPAIGN IN KOSOVO
 
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Democracy in Action activities

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12 October 2013

DiA presents the first week report of monitoring the election campaign and media



Pristina, 12 October, 2013 - Democracy in Action (DiA) today held a press conference to introduce the first monitoring report by the first week of the election campaign under the 2013 Local Elections.
The local elections of 3 November 2013 will be held in accordance with the Constitution, the Law on General Elections, the Law on Local Elections and the Law on Local Self-Government. The CEC has certified 102 political entities that will compete in all the cities of the Republic of Kosovo. The organization of local elections in the entire territory of Kosovo, including the northern part, sparsely populated areas with a Serb majority, has increased the attention of the international community and non-governmental institutions and local government participation and inclusiveness of all citizens with the right to vote.

“Political parties have started campaigning before the official date of the start of campaign. The lack of sanctions foreseen for not respecting the official date when the campaign is supposed to start put the political parties at ease thus they started their campaigns early. People are failing to recognize the mayoral candidates because the leaders of their political parties are leaving them in the shade. It seems that the latter forces are dragging each other and are testing the potential public support for the upcoming national elections, "said Ismet Kryeziu, the leader of Democracy in Action Coalition.
The campaign is changing shape, except besides public gatherings, political parties are increasingly campaigning “Door to Door" directly talking to voters contact in their homes. This phenomenon is observed throughout Kosovo. According to Mr. Kryeziu, DiA observers have monitored thus far 217 public meetings of political parties. Participation in these meetings has reached about 40,000 citizens or 2.35% of the electoral body, based on past trends; it shows a lack of interest from citizens to closely follow the election campaigns. Moreover, political parties are practicing the manipulative approach using minors in election campaigns, influencing and even using the authority of principals and teachers from secondary schools. At meetings of political parties, the participation of children and students is evident, where 5 to 20 % of participants were children. Moreover, political propaganda materials in political buildings, tearing of posters by militants of political parties and rival candidates were also evidenced thus far.
The CEC is rarely holding meetings. The lack of meetings (which should normally be kept in an election period) hinders public information and makes the CEC work non - transparent and inefficient. Regarding the Municipality Election Commission (MEC), most long-term observers of the Democracy in Action reported that they do not hold regular meetings and information is communicated to members of MEC by phone or in informal meetings in various cafes - bars. Democracy in Action is concerned with the level of training that member of Polling Station (PSC) will be given. They are the main link to ensure the smooth running of the election process on Election Day. Past elections proved that the training of members of the PSC were not consistent, more shocking, some commissioners did not even follow the trainings. So far, we know about trainings sessions held for trainers who will train the PSCs, but there is no official report from the CEC evaluating the quality of these trainings. DiA encourages the CEC to establish an oversight group that will oversee the level of training.
In the electoral management bodies, woman is presented only symbolically. This fact can be clearly seen from the list of Chairperson of the Municipal Election Commissions (MECs) and members appointed by the political parties in the MEC published by CEC. The Percentage by gender is 90 % to 10 % in favor of males.
According to KRYEZIU, the election campaign so far was conducted peacefully and without any critical incident this week. However, displaying weapons at rallies as protection for public figures is causing irritation to most citizens. The DiA observers have identified nine cases of exposure of weapons in party gatherings. 5 such cases were observed in PDK meetings - 2 cases in AAK gatherings, and 2 cases in AKR gatherings. It is also reported that two mayoral cars were damaged, the candidate for Junik from LDK Mr. Zenun Shala, and the PDK official.
Official data provided by ECAP, show that until 10.10.2013, 78 complaints have been filed by political parties. Again, according to official data, large number of complaints was filed by LDK, a total of 28, followed by the Self-Determination Movement with 27, PDK with 19, Democratic Union 3 and SLS 1. The subject for which the complaints were filled was PDK, with 37, followed by LDK, with 17 cases and AAK 13, and LVV with 1. 29 complaints were filled for posters in public buildings, 18 for placing posters in public traffic signs, 8 about placing posters on public roads and 5 complaints about coverage poster.
Petrit Zogaj, DiA board member, said that while monitoring the four major TV stations; RTK1, KTV, RTV 21, and Klan Kosova, DiA has analyzed all electoral activities which are transmitted over prime time news, chronicles, respectively election advertising spots with or without pay, as well as some of the programs with electoral character. From spots with free space divided in political advertising, LDK leads with 22 appearances, PDK with 15, and AKR with 13.
“DiA has also monitored seven daily newspapers from 04 to 10 October. The daily newspapers include: Bota Sot, Epoka e Re, Koha Ditore, Kosova Sot, Lajm, Tribuna and Zėri. In all newspapers, 840 articles were written, PDK leads with 190, followed by LDK with 168, AAK 139, and AKR 100. Sharing airtime to political parties for election chronicles, average minutes per day indicate that PDK leads with 4.3 %, LDK 3.7 %, AAK - LDD coalition 3.5 %, VV 2.9 %, AKR 2%, and other parties with 11.4 %, "said Zogaj.