The November election will be particularly watched as it will be the first in 14 years to include all of Kosovo.
By Safet Kabashaj for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 27/08/13
About 21,000 commissioners will be needed to oversee the November 3rd election in Kosovo. [AFP]
With the all-too-critical elections looming in Kosovo, members of the Central Election Commission are pledging that commissioners investigated for or convicted of charges of manipulating the process in the 2010 election will not be allowed to work the November 3rd vote.
Chairwoman Valdete Daka said they already have a list of names of those involved in election abuses, which will help them to prevent their re-recruitment.
"All those commissioners whose names we have received from the Judicial Council, the State Prosecution, but also those that we have who have been involved [in fraud investigations] will not be appointed as members of municipal committees as members of polling councils," Daka told SETimes.
More than 200 commissioners are convicted or still facing charges, while more than 1,000 were investigated for allegedly being involved in election fraud.
The November election will be particularly watched as it will be the first in 14 years to include all of Kosovo. Serbs in northern Kosovo are being encouraged by both Pristina and Belgrade to vote in the election; a successful vote free of controversy is expected to help both countries on their paths toward European integration.
Leon Malazogu, head of Democracy for Development Institute (D4D), which deals with analysis and research of election processes, is skeptical that the election commission is in a position to compile a clean list of new commissioners. He told SETimes that the commission and the courts should strengthen training for members of political parties because it is difficult to monitor the vote.
"It is about 3,000 polling centres with seven commissioners in each, which means 21,000 people in total. We as NGOs have no technical possibility to monitor and report all cases. However, CEC and the courts should punish members of political parties that have been involved in the manipulation of votes in the last election, because election fraud is not committed only through an individual, but through the political parties," Malazogu said.
MP Adem Grabovci of the ruling PDK party said most problems happened within some political parties.
"I do not agree with what has been manipulation of such a range between commissioners and political parties because commissioners or observers of all political parties protected the vote and did not allow manipulations or fraudulent votes. But manipulations among members of some political parties did occur, which than reflected and harmed the electoral process," Grabovci told SETimes.
Vjosa Osmani, a senior member of the LDK opposition party, said that the voter fraud resulted in a government that constantly abuses the interests of people. She said that protecting the vote is the top priority of her party for November elections.
"LDK will be very careful in the selecting process of commissioners. Preparations have already begun at branches and those commissioners who in the past have failed to protect the vote or showed non reliability could not be in the list of LDK’s commissioners," Osmani told SETimes.
What standards should commissioners be held to when assigned to work the November election? Add your thoughts below.