The election campaign is a period when citizens expect from political parties to show they understand their problems and expectations. More than usual, political parties need to show that they have clear and sustainable ideas on how to approach the resolution of citizens’ problems. In conditions of a high level of mistrust towards politicians, pre-election activities are the last chance for parties to improve these perceptions and to reach better results at the election.

Apart from daily appearances and intensive campaign, one of the best ways to see whether political parties have a vision about the following steps are political party programs. Programs should offer a detailed overview of stances and priorities about key social issues.   

It is undoubted that political parties will try to draw nearer to citizens by emphasizing the fight against corruption and rule of law, taking into account that corruption is an important topic to citizens and it affects them on everyday basis. 

Nevertheless, politicians should do more to convince citizens that the solutions offered will lower corruption. Political party programs should offer innovative solutions which will attempt and convince 69% of citizens who believe that governmental policies cannot essentially reduce corruption.

Measures and activities foreseen in political party programs are an important indicator about the overall dedication of political parties, despite the continuous suspicions concerning the implementation of what’s foreseen. It is necessary to clearly determine the roles, deadlines, and required resources to achieve the goals set. Political parties should answer the question whether they shall insist on changes to the legal framework or shall direct themselves towards strengthening the implementation of current solutions. Regardless of the approach, the solutions offered need to be based on detected risk areas and evidence-based analyses. 

Besides the contents of political party programs themselves, what will be important in the election campaign period is to discuss about mechanisms to overcome high-level corruption challenges before the tendency for mutual accusation about the conditions. Political parties should announce that they shall be ready for an inter-party cooperation when drafting solutions in the interest of the country. The first test about this dedication will take place prior to the election itself, i.e. whether political parties will manage to overcome their differences and adopt the long-awaited Law on the Public Prosecutor’s Office. 

Finally, under circumstances of uncertainty in the EU integration process, alternatives need to be offered which will ensure continuous fight against corruption regardless of the outcome at the Summit of the European Union in May this year. The solutions proposed need to be sustainable and in conditions of lessened external pressure and conditionality intensity by the European Union. 

The project “Anti-Corruption Talk in Parliament (ACT in Parliament)” involves investigative and advocacy activities with the primary goal of supporting the reform process in North Macedonia by strengthening the oversight role of the Parliament with regard to the fight against corruption.

The project is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy – NED from the United States of America. IDSCS bears responsibility for the contents and in no way reflects the positions of the National Endowment for Democracy – NED.