Minister Nikola Dimitrov’s facts are irrelevant when it comes to the electoral roll

Nikola Dimitrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Photo: MFA

The data of the Health Insurance Fund can only be the base for providing the number of people of working age in the country and for preparing statistics and reports, but never can they be used to collate the electoral roll

 

The data of the Health Insurance Fund can only be the base for providing the number of people of working age in the country and for preparing statistics and reports, but never can they be used to collate the electoral roll

 

Part of Minister Nikola Dimitrov’s Facebook status about the electoral roll, which he claims is all about the facts, does not have legal basis. In his lengthy post, Dimitrov talks about several referendum-related points and many of them are correct and true. However, the following is not:

Is it a fact that the electoral roll is not accurate at all, taking into account the data of the Health Insurance Fund? Yes. 416.382 are minors without right to vote, out of 1.872.466 insured. Have hundreds of thousands of citizens emigrated? Yes.

[Source: Nikola Dimitrov, Facebook profile, date: 3 October 2018]

 

EXPLANATION

The “accuracy” of the electoral roll is subject to discussion. Moreover, given that Macedonia hasn’t had a census for 16 years, there is a number of indicators showing that the electoral roll isn’t really accurate. But the “facts” used by Dimitrov to show that the electoral roll is not accurate are simply incorrect, or false.

The data of the Health Insurance Fund can only be the base for providing the number of people of working age in the country and for preparing statistics and reports, but never can they be used to collate the electoral roll. First, the Health Insurance Fund registers persons who are employed and/or insured by a third party only. This number doesn’t include the unemployed without health insurance and do not have the job-seeker status, but have the right to vote, as well as the people beyond the working age of 65 who do not have pension or other income.

Employed by foreign companies, many people are privately insured as individuals in funds outside the Republic of Macedonia and they are not included as a number in the Macedonian Health Insurance Fund. In addition, the Fund removes all those who are temporarily jobless or their health insurance contributions haven’t been paid, therefore the number that Dimitrov mentions constantly fluctuates and cannot be used to collate the number of the voters. Therefore, Minister’s premise that the electoral roll is not accurate, backed only by the comparison with the people with health insurance, cannot be accepted at all.

What’s more, the electoral roll doesn’t include minors under 18, so there is no room for them in this context, i.e. they cannot indicate the accuracy of the electoral roll.

Below is a statement on this issue by the president of the State Election Commission, Oliver Derkovski, made for magazin.mk on 12 August 2018:

I have said on multiple occasions that the number is accurate. Let’s not mix politics, because registering persons in the Electoral Roll is purely statistical operation. The State Statistics Office and the Ministry of Interior are included in this process by offering their registers that serve to fill the Electoral Roll. To make it clearer for the citizens, every citizen who has reached 18 years of age, who has valid ID or passport of the Republic of Macedonia, has the right to be registered in the Electoral Roll, not every person living in the country. The residents of the Republic of Macedonia undergo another operation – census, while the right to be registered in the electoral roll is earned by meeting these conditions and that makes the distinction between the two things. That’s actually the difference.

Articles 2 and 6 of the Law on Electoral Roll confirm that all citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, regardless of their residency, are registered in the electoral roll:

Article 2

(1) The citizens of the Republic of Macedonia (hereinafter: citizens) who have the right to vote are registered in the Electoral Roll.

 

Article 6

(1) All citizens who have attained 18 years of age, with domicile on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia, holders of valid ID or passport, shall be registered in the Electoral Roll.

(2) All citizens of the Republic of Macedonia who work or live abroad temporarily, with domicile on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia, holders of valid passport, shall also be registered in the Electoral Roll. These persons shall be registered according to their last domicile in the Republic of Macedonia before moving abroad.

(3) Citizens who have been deprived of their capacity to contract with a final court decision shall not be registered in the Electoral Roll.

 

The last sentence in Dimitrov’s post, asking whether hundreds of thousands of citizens have emigrated, implying they are not registered in the Electoral Roll, takes the matters into wrong direction. Quite the contrary, actually, all citizens of age of the Republic of Macedonia, holders of ID or passport of the Republic of Macedonia, form part of the Electoral Roll. That’s why the Macedonian diaspora abroad, the hundreds of thousands of emigrants, as Dimitrov says, who are citizens of age, holders of Macedonian passport, have the right to vote in referendum and elections, thus form part of the Electoral Roll. According to SEC’s data from the Referendum Report published on 3 October 2018, 76.060 citizens who have been registered as emigrants or employed abroad temporarily, have not filed a voting application to the diplomatic-consular offices of Macedonia, while 2.694 persons have been registered to vote in one of the 33 offices of Macedonia. All of this points out that they are part of the Electoral Roll, have the right to vote and take part in the turnout, a half plus 1 of the total number of voters registered in the Electoral Roll, which amounted to 1.806.336 voters in this referendum.

Just as comparison, the number of voters in 2014 was 1.779.500, in the 2016 general elections there were 1.784.524, while in the 2017 local elections there were 1.814.644 voters.

In light of the aforementioned, this part of Foreign Minister’s Facebook status is false, and has the aim to justify the low turnout, that didn’t reach 900 thousand votes for a successful referendum. The question whether such turnout stipulated by the Constitution and Law on Referendum is too high and whether it could be reached, especially if one of the two big parties decides to boycott, is subject to discussion, but the arguments of the Minister Dimitrov aren’t the right ones.

 

SOURCES

 

Assessed by: Sashe Dimovski

 

 


This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.