Counter-Spin: If the Skopje Police Chief Has Nothing to Do with Elections, who Does?

State Electoral Commission. Photo: META

The Ministry of Interior (MOI) is directly involved in the organization and conduct of elections, although the main body is the State Electoral Commission (SEC). The MОI provides the voting material, takes care of the public order and  peace and of peaceful conduct of the voting process itself, the provision of election materials after the voting is completed, the prosecution of election violators and many other election-related matters and therefore the Chief of Skopje Police is certainly an election-related staffing solution

 

Author: Teofil Blaževski

 

The State Election Commission has taken a stand on the issue of functioning of the current temporary government, more specifically the Ministry of Interior. In this stand a spin can be recognized:

Spin: (the appointment of a Head of SIA Skopje) is not an act or document relating to legal, financial or staffing matters linked to the organization of elections referred to in Article 46, Paragraph 3 of the Law on Government. Not to attack someone, but in this case we have no jurisdiction, as this issue does not concern the organization and conduct of elections.

[Source:  Kanal 5 – SEC Says It Has No Jurisdiction Regarding the Appointment of Risto Stavrevski  – Date: 14. January, 2020]

 

 

COUNTER-SPIN:

The position of the SEC that they are not responsible for the disagreement over who should be the Skopje Police Chief because the issue was not related to the organization of elections, is a spin, i.e. a distortion of the truth.

They refer to the Law on Government and cite Article 46, which states that the Minister and the Deputy Minister shall jointly and equally consider and sign all decisions and provisions concerning “legal, financial and staffing matters related to the organization of elections.”

The explanation that Minister Nakje Čulev has the right to appoint and dismiss 15 senior officials in the Ministry of Interior deriving from Article 44 of the same law is a word game, as the Minister does that anyway, like the other ministers, for the purpose of following the electoral process in order to prevent abuses during the organization and the conduct of elections.

After all, the meaning of all these added articles from 2016 onwards, agreed upon with the “Pržino Process”, is, in fact, precisely that, and it is clear that all the rights conferred to the temporary ministers and deputy ministers are directed towards mutual control during the conduct of elections.

However, the police is also directly involved in the conduct of the elections. Whether you call it organization of the electoral process, for which SEC is in charge, or conduct of the election, for which also SEC is in charge, many other organs and institutions are also responsible for the organization and conduct. One of the most important institutions is, of course, the MOI. The MОI provides the voting material, takes care of the public order and the peaceful conduct of the voting process itself, the provision of election materials after the voting is completed, the prosecution of election violators and many other election-related matters. Indeed, the competences of the Ministry of Interior are mentioned in the Electoral Code in several places (6). There, it is stated that on Election Day, SEC, in cooperation with the MOI, will prepare a Rulebook on police conduct during elections.

Hence, to declare the single act of appointing, or not appointing, the Head of the largest sector of internal affairs in the country, the Skopje Police, an act having nothing to do with Paragraph 3 of the Article 46 of the Law on Government, is a distortion of the truth, i.e. spin. This means that the SEC does not consider the appointment of the Head of Internal Affairs – Skopje as a staffing solution related to the organization (and conduct) of elections.

Although this looks like transferring responsibility to another, if the Deputy Minister does not sign Čulev’s decision to appoint the respective person as head of Skopje Police, under the same Law on Government, the Administrative Court will be competent. This will mean prolonging the process and will cause distrust in the temporary government as an institution.

 

 

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