The citizens’ choice in these local elections will determine who will be leading the local community and in which direction the local developments will move. The local issues are becoming increasingly important to the citizens as the local-level governance directly affects their quality of life.

The funding of the elections campaign is a vital indicator of the legitimacy of the election process. As the founder of the key anti-corruption institutions that have the broadest powers in the election process (State Commission for Prevention of Corruption (SCPC) and the State Audit Office (SAO)), the Parliament has an important role to play in overseeing the legality of financing of the political campaign.

The SAO, within its competencies, conducts audits of the financial statements on revenues and expenditures in the election campaigns. If there are irregularities, the SAO submits a request to initiate a misdemeanour procedure or a report to the competent public prosecutor. The SAO also provides recommendations regarding the Electoral Code important for the Parliament review to ensure their implementation in future election cycles.

The SCPC has important responsibilities regarding the financing of the election campaign. One of them is the monitoring of the legality of the election campaign financing. The SCPC may initiate proceedings to establish the factual situation in case of suspicion or objection to illegal financing of a campaign. Additionally, the SCPC is competent to monitor the legality of the use of budget funds from the day of the announcement until the end of the elections and determine abuse of political party funding during an election campaign. The Commission is also required to review these reports and submit a special report to the Parliament on financing the election campaign, no later than three months from the day of the end of the elections. In addition, the persons working to prevent corruption are provided with full protection and independence, and in case of any pressure, the SCPC immediately notifies the Parliament.

The participants in the election campaign submit a complete financial report to the Parliament, the State Election Commission, SAO, SCPC and to the municipal council and the council of the City of Skopje. The banks in which accounts are opened for campaign purposes are required to provide the SCPC and SAO with free electronic access to all changes in those accounts.

Anti-corruption institutions are obliged to cooperate with each other and with the State Election Commission during the election campaign. In the run-up to the upcoming local elections, the SCPC, together with the SAO, established a joint team for coordination and implementation of the planned activities of the two institutions to obtain data from the institutions and bank accounts of the participants in the local elections. The MPs need to monitor the election process closely and carefully review and discuss the reports prepared by the SCPC and SAO to increase the accountability of the political parties, improve the legal framework for elections and, ultimately, increase the confidence in the election process.

 

The project Anti-Corruption Talk in Parliament (ACT in Parliament)) includes research and advocacy activities with main purpose of supporting the reform process in North Macedonia, by reinforcing the supervisory role of the Parliament in relation to the fight against corruption.

The project is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) from United States of America. IDSCS is solely responsible for the content herein and it does not reflect the positions of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).