Macedonia Final Report, May 2000-March 2002
IFES began work in Macedonia in June 1994 when it sent a pre-election assessment team to Skopje with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The team evaluated the election environment and provided recommendations on how the international community could best assist in the country's democratic transition. The team identified several general areas which needed to be addressed by assistance groups: the promotion of confidence measures in the administration of free and fair elections; the development of a transparent election process in order to diminish opportunities for allegations of impropriety; the need for an effective public information campaign on issues such as citizenship, a census, and election procedures; the promotion of independent media and efficient election legislation, and pre-election training of election commissions, poll-workers, domestic observers and members of the media.
Under the Cooperative Agreement EE-OA-0097-00034-00, IFES has had a full-time office in Macedonia since July 2000. Since that time, IFES has been the primary election support organization from the international community for the Government of Macedonia and the State Election Commission. IFES has been instrumental in:
• The development of two nation-wide civic education programs for voters;
• The development and delivery of training programs for election officials;
• Serving as the primary international agent for drafting and review of election legislation;
• The conduct of voters' list integrity testing;
• Providing advice to the SEC on implementation of election legislation and the administration of the elections; and
• Developing commercial relations between the SEC and suppliers of election goods.
Achieving these projects has involved a number of specific activities, many of which are reported on in this document. The activities undertaken by IFES have been based on a close collaboration with the State Election Commission. This collaboration covers a broad range of activities including advice to the SEC on election administration and operations, civic education and training. In addition, IFES has collaborated with the international community to ensure that election assistance efforts are neither duplicative nor contradictory. The strong relationship between IFES and these organizations has been instrumental in the achievement of IFES work programs.
An important part of IFES Macedonia's activity has been the provision of advice to the SEC, both corporately and individually to members and staff. While it is difficult to measure the impact of this activity, it is clear that this has been an important and useful element of the project. Not only has the SEC sought to expand its relationship with IFES but individual members of the Commission also frequently seek out IFES staff for assistance.
IFES has had a direct and strong impact on the development of a democratic election process in Macedonia. Many of these activities reflect a first step towards best practices in the field of election administration. However, collectively they have also contributed to the increased transparency of the election process in Macedonia.
There is much to do. The deterioration of the political situation in Macedonia in early 200 I meant that IFES programming shifted away from comprehensive electoral reform towards planning for election assistance in the expectation that a political settlement would include a component for early elections. Changes still need to be made to election laws; the voters' list continues to have a number of errors; and more extensive training of local election officials is a continuing challenge, as is the development of greater professionalism and institutional strengthening of the SEC. These issues represent the challenges for the future and constitute the core of current IFES activities in Macedonia under the CEPPS 2 funding mechanism.
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