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Macedonia must do better

"We appreciate that the authorities plan to expedite reform of the election legislation," said Christian Strohal, head of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. "However, such a process takes time to allow for consultation with the political parties, international experts and the public. This will help to ensure public confidence in the resulting legislation."

The ODIHR today published its final report on municipal elections earlier this year in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The report offers a series of recommendations to assist the authorities in improving the election process, which proved problematic in a number of municipalities. "The report also emphasizes that political will is essential for any improvements to positively impact the process," read an OSCE statement.

The ODIHR wants Macedonia to take action on election violations so as to restore rule of law and confidence in the election process. Cases of electoral violations are currently being investigated by local authorities. Macedonia's compliance with European standards on elections and democracy is important in determining the pace of the country's EU integration.

Earlier this month, on an unofficial visit to Finland, Macedonian Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski met with  EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn. "We are preparing an advisory report on Macedonia's application for full-fledged membership," Rehn told the Macedonian Information Agency. Rehn gave support to Macedonia's efforts to join the 25-member EU bloc but steered clear of the continuing dispute with Greece over Macedonia's official name. "I encourage both countries to resolve this problem that will not influence the 'avis' on EU integration," Rehn said.

Friday, 17 June 2005

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