Radakovic: The electoral organization process has never been worse, complete secrecy and lack of transparency

Dušan Radaković
Source: Kosovo Online

The referendum on the dismissal of four Albanian mayors in municipalities with a Serbian majority in northern Kosovo is scheduled for Sunday, April 21, and three days before the vote, the polling stations, members of the Municipal Election Commission, and the functioning of the announced surveillance cameras are still unknown. The executive director of the Center for Advocacy of Democratic Culture, Dusan Radakovic, who has been monitoring and overseeing all electoral processes in northern Kosovo since 2013, also assessed this electoral process as "never worse, inefficient, and non-transparent".

"There are definitely many problems in organizing these elections. I think this is the worst election organization ever, at least since 2013, which we have been monitoring through 'Democracy at Work'. There has never been such a process before, in complete secrecy, lack of transparency, and inefficiency. The whole ACDC process has been monitored in all previous elections, we have always been invited to meetings and to participate in election organization, and we have been auxiliary monitoring. But on the other hand, Municipal Election Commission has never contacted us. As someone who has been monitoring elections since 2013, I don't know who is part of Municipal Election Commission, to be honest. There have been many meetings in Pristina, where we asked about the cameras, we never received an answer about what, how, in what way, what is the reason, where they are filming and being used, we did not get an answer," he emphasized.

Radakovic highlights that he himself doesn't know where the elections will be organized.

"Three days before the elections, we don't know where the voting will take place. Whether it will be in schools, which I doubt to be honest, in which locality it will be, in which containers or municipal Kosovo institutions, believe me, I don't know. Never a worse electoral organization process, maybe even worse than in April 2023," he adds.

Radakovic believes that this process leads to pressure to organize the voting but also to its failure.

"It is being organized at a very strange moment, parallel to the census. In a difficult political situation and disorganization and the installation of those famous cameras that are being talked about, and we don't have a camera law. Other countries take from Albania and Montenegro, where there is a law that regulates what and how they serve, how the material is kept and who has access to the cameras, whether it's online or not. We have villages around Leposavic and Zubin Potok that are in the woods, often there is no electricity and mobile networks to establish an online signal. Many problems, electoral boards that have remained very few, mainly from the Serb List and some parties. Very debatable how those votes will be counted. A lot of ambiguities that only show that the process is catastrophic, non-transparent, and the people organizing the elections represent the fact that people from this area must organize these elections," Radakovic concludes.

He notes that CEC tried to give people from Gracanica, Klokot, Partes, who may have never been to Mitrovica, Leposavic, or Zvecan, to organize the elections, which, as he notes, would be inefficient.

"People from here must organize the entire election process because they know. Since 2013, every process has been organized, except for last year. If people from outside come who don't know the processes, don't know the function of schools and systems, and don't know where the boards and centers were, I don't know what will happen on Sunday. Our organization wanted to work on the elections, but after the general boycott, there is no great point. A few people will be a mobile team that will come to see the process, but we won't be doing anything concrete at each polling station," Radakovic concluded.