Gabriel PartosMacedonia election 'fell short'
Monday, 11 September, 2000
The European security organisation, the OSCE, has said that the municipal elections held in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia on Sunday fell short of democratic standards in a number of respects.
The OSCE's preliminary report was published as the governing and opposition parties gave conflicting reports about the results, which have yet to be issued by the election authorities.
The OSCE observers have raised concern at the level of violence and intimidation, particularly in the western part of Macedonia - home to a substantial ethnic Albanian community - where four people were injured in shooting incidents.
They have also found fault with a lack of clarity in some provisions of the electoral law.
They say the media, on the whole, provided the public with access to a wide range of information.
However, they single out for criticism the election coverage provided by Macedonian State television.
According to them, state television gave more than six times as much air time to the centre-right government and its coalition parties than to the opposition bloc led by the Social Democratic Alliance.
The OSCE's election officer, Konrad Olszewski, said that recommendations as to what should be done will only be forthcoming in the OSCE's final report which will follow a month after the elections.
In the meantime, the rival parties will seize on different aspects of the OSCE's findings to back their claims.
Much is at stake because Prime Minister Ljupco Georgievski said last month that he would hold early parliamentary elections if his coalition gained 10% fewer votes than the opposition alliance.
But already the government side is suggesting that the results will be much closer than that, and there will be no need for snap elections in October.