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MONITORING THE MEDIA DURING
ELECTION CAMPAIGN IN KOSOVO
 
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02 June 2014

Early Parliamentary Elections 2014 Press Release



The main objective of “Democracy in Action” coalition of NGOs is ensuring an electoral process according to universal standards of free, fair and equal elections as well as impartial observation of electoral process that inspires the trust of citizens. The coalition Democracy in Action is observing the electoral campaign of early parliamentary elections scheduled for 8 June 2014. Democracy in Action issues the second media statement on findings and progress of electoral campaign throughout Kosovo.

Preliminary findings:
  • DiA assesses the general progress of electoral campaign to date as calm and without any serious incident;

  • ECAP annulled the CEC decision on banning publication of promotional posters size B2;

  • The proposal to recount all votes in the Counting and Results Centre, without legal basis;

  • The boycott of political entities representing Kosovo Serbs in the north, damages the interests of citizens in this part of Kosovo;

  • Participation of women in electoral rallies is exceptionally low. In 89 political rallies, their participation is below 5 %;

  • Officials of public institutions are using state resources in electoral activities of political parties;

  • DiA calls upon all political entities to continue their electoral activities with caution, by presenting values and competitive programs;


  1. DiA assesses the general progress of electoral campaign to date as calm and without any serious incident;


  2. Democracy in Action, based on the data form the monitors of this coalition, who monitored around 208 public rallies of political entities, assesses that the electoral campaign for early elections scheduled for 8 June 2013, is progressing calmly without any significant incident.

  3. ECAP annulled the CEC decision on banning publication of promotional posters size B2;

  4. Democracy in Action considers the ECAP decision, to annul the CEC decision to ban publication of promotional posters size B2, as just. Regardless of the constructive claim that CEC aimed to achieve with this decision, DiA estimates that this institution is not a legislative body and does not have the authority to issue acts that are in violation of the basic law – the Law on General Elections.

  5. The proposal to recount all votes in the Counting and Results Centre, without legal basis;


  6. DiA is concerned regarding the proposal of some CEC members to issue a decision to recount all votes in the Counting and Results Centre (CRC). DiA evaluates that adoption of such proposal is also in violation of the Law on General Elections, which clearly defines on which cases CEC may recount the votes.

    Article 74, paragraph 10 of the Law on General Elections states that “the PSC shall be responsible for ensuring the integrity, security and tranquility of the polling and counting process at the Polling Station under the immediate supervision of the MEC”. Therefore this article clearly states the competence of PSC to count ballots.

    Whereas Article 106.2 of the same law states that “Prior to certification of the election results, the CEC may order a recount of ballots in any polling station, or counting centre, or a repeat of the voting in a polling centre or municipality”. From the interpretation of this provision, we conclude that CEC may order recounting of ballots in any polling station or polling centre only after the voting process is finished, and in no case in prior stages.

  7. The boycott of political entities representing Kosovo Serbs in the north, damages the interests of these citizens in this part of Kosovo;


  8. The warning from the mayors of four municipalities in north of Kosovo that they will give up all activities in relation to the 8 June elections, until the Central Elections Commission in Kosovo fulfills their demands, such as removing Kosovo’s state symbols from the ballots and that Serbian representatives become part of the polling station committees in the southern part of Kosovo, damages the interests of these citizens in this part of Kosovo.

    According to information from DiA observers, Municipal Election Commissions have halted their activities. Unofficially, we learned that the Municipal Election Commission in Mitrovica North is meeting today and will discuss this issue.

    On the other hand, in the southern part of the country, in Serb-majority municipalities the Municipal Election Commissions are continuing activities of training PSC members. Political parties have opened their campaign offices and they are functioning in Gracanica, Partesh and Kllokot.

  9. Participation of women in electoral rallies is exceptionally low. In 89 political rallies, their participation is below 5 %;


  10. The participation of women in electoral rallies of political entities continues to remain exceptionally low. Out of 208 monitored activities by DiA observers, in 89 of them or 41% the participation of women was below 5% mark.


  11. Officials of public institutions are using state resources in electoral activities of political parties;


  12. Using public resources for campaign purposes, albeit being prohibited by the Code of Conduct of Political Entities, is continuing by political entities.

    Article 5 of the Code of Conduct

    “A person who holds public office, elected or appointed, cannot use that office or any of its assets in order to gain votes. No resource of any institution of public administration, whether central or local, or any enterprise owned or controlled by central or local authorities, can be used or applied in support of any political party in elections”

    To date, DiA observers reported 41 cases of using public resources for electoral purposes. Official vehicles were spotted in pre-election activities mainly by political entities in power. From 41 reported cases, 15 were used by PDK or 36.5% of cases, 9 cases by AKR, 7 from LDK and 6 by AAK.

    Further, many complaints came not only from observers but also from political entities, mainly in opposition, with regard to using municipal administration employees, doctors and teachers in electoral activities.

    Two cases were reported, that due to the campaign, the work of hospitals in Mitrovica and Gjakova was interrupted. In Mitrovica, because of electoral activities of PDK leader Hashim Thaēi in this city, the managers of the hospital ordered to close it. While in Gjakova, during the visit of Thaēi in this hospital, the work of this institution was interrupted.


  13. NGOs and Media in Electoral Campaign


Even in this electoral campaign, several cases were recorded were media was prevented from exercising its duty. Three such cases were recorded, one in the PDK gathering in Gjakova (Hotel President on 29/05/ 2014), one in the LVV gathering in Gjakova (Restaurant IceBerg 29/05/2014) and one in the SLS gathering (Leposavic 28/05/2014).
Another obstacle for media and observer NGOs was the lack of announcement of activities of political entities in MEC. Media and civil society in many cases were confused regarding the agendas of parties, since even when reported in MEC they did not match the announced activity.