Legal Reform Initiative

Overall goal
The goal of the initiative is to work on improving the election legislation, electoral processes and overcoming electoral irregularities.

Specific objectives

  • Forming and coordinating roundtables and working groups;
  • Preparation of Draft Election Code and its final draft;
  • Enacting the Draft Election Code through intensified lobbying;
  • Working on amendments and commentary to the Electoral Code.

Achievements
In 2004 a memorandum with the Ministry of Justice was signed. Four round tables were organized on which domestic and international experts, representatives of all political parties and relevant state institutions related to elections were invited. The aim of the round tables was to initiate a public debate and detect all problematic issues and weaknesses of the election process. After that, a working group was established with an aim to issue recommendations for improvement of the election legislation based on the reports from the public debates.

In 2005, a working group was formed, consisting representatives from all State institutions involved in the Elections (Ministry of Justice, State Election Commission, State Statistical Agency, State Audit Agency, Supreme Court etc), representatives of all parliamentary parties, NGOs and experts. The working group prepared the Draft Election Code. After that, 3 public hearings were organized in order to include input from various stakeholders. The working group prepared the final draft, considering the recommendations from the public hearings. In the end, the Parliament enacted the Election Code in March 2006.

In 2007 MOST continued its work in the field of legal reforms. An agreement was signed between MOST, Ministry of Justice and OSCE. Workshops on three separate topics were organized. The topics were: State Election Commission, election irregularities and financing of election campaigns. After that, a working group was created consisting of: MPs, representatives from relevant state institutions, representative of MOST, representative from the OSCE Spillover Mission in Skopje and 2 local experts. The working group prepared amendments to the Electoral Code, and some of them were adopted by the Parliament in October, 2008.

In 2009, MOST facilitated a working group consisting of 3 local and 1 international expert which prepared a Commentary to the Election Code, a first of its kind publication in Macedonia. The commentary included recommendations from international organizations related to elections, as well as recommendations from OSCE and MOST aimed at further improving of the election legislation.

During 2009 and 2010 MOST was part of the working groups organized by the Secretariat for European Integration of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia with the aim of preparing new amendments to the Electoral Code in accordance with the recommendations by the EU, after the problematic elections in 2008 and the elections in 2009. In these working groups MOST was the only participant from the civil society, equal with all other represented institutions. The last amendments of the Electoral Code were introduced in April 2011.

Key achievements:

  • Improved election legislation (Election Code) compatible with international election standards and good practices,
  • Published Commentary of the Election Code,
  • Improved quality of the elections,
  • Strengthened institutional capacity and strengthened capacity for EU integration

This project was funded by Norwegian People’s Aid, Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights (SHC), Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) and Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands