On Sunday, April 21, for the sixth time, the President of the state will be elected in the Republic of Northern Macedonia

These are the first elections since the Prespa Agreement entered into force, which resolves the name dispute between Macedonia and Greece and the country gets the name Northern Macedonia. Outgoing President Gjorge Ivanov, who opposed the deal, could no longer run because of the constitutional limitation of two maximum presidential terms.

According to Macedonian laws, the presidential candidate can win in the first round if he won over 50% of the votes of all registered voters in the voter list. Otherwise, a second round will be held on May 5, in which the two candidates with the most votes from the first round will compete. The turnout in the second round should be above 40% for voting to be considered valid.

According to the Constitution, the presidential candidate should be over 40 years old and be a resident of the state for at least 10 of the last 15 years. One term for the president is 5 years.

The right to vote in the sixth presidential election have 1,808,131 voters.

In order to monitor the election prospect, they are accredited by the Democratic Institute of Kosovo for nine accreditations, the civil organization MOST for 1527 accreditations and the Citizen's Association CIVIL for 148 acreditations.

In the wake of the elections in the European Parliament: the Roma are advocating for Europe, and whether the European candidates for them?

Because there is a close connection between the Roma and the EU, why then pro-European candidates do not publicly contact the Roma electorate a few weeks before the European Parliament elections? At the end of the days in France and Spain there are half a million Roma. In Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria, Roma are between 5 and 10% of the total population in those countries. The parties need to find inspiration following the example in Slovakia.

There, young, liberal and pro-European oriented candidate Zuzana Chaputova won the presidential election last year. Attracting Romani voices was part of her strategy. After each victory in the election cycle, he thanked the Roma electorate and turned it into Romani language. It was a really daring and courageous step in the moment when candidates rarely try to give support to Roma for fear of losing their votes with the majority of voters.

More importantly, Chaputova recognized that the Roma electorate and candidates played an important role in her electoral victory. In the local elections in Slovakia in 2018, about 40 Roma mayors and more than 400 municipal councilors were elected. Their alliance against right-wing parties contributed to the defeat of Marian Kotleba, a political leader who is known for promoting violence against Roma in the first round of presidential elections in Slovakia, as was the case in the regional elections two years ago.

In some European countries there is growing interest in the electoral potential of Roma. In Spain, for example, four big political parties from the leftist Podemos to the conservative Gudadanos put Roma candidates in their lists in response to the electoral success of the far-right Vox party.

AVAJA Manifest

AVAJA is a civic initiative that articulates and promotes the interests of Roma citizens to stakeholders. This campaign connects 10,000 Roma citizens from 14 cities in the country in order to unite the voice of the interests of the community.

Roma are citizens in this country and are seeking to actively participate in democratic processes and decision-making. In the past period, the Roma were "dragged", "bought" and "manipulated" to cast their vote for the interests of others. Many politicians came and promised that the life of the Roma would improve, but we still do not see the result in the community. From the research related to the election and exit of the Roma, it can be noted that 60% of the respondents participated in the previous presidential elections and have confidence in the institution of the president of the state.

By that, this initiative for the upcoming presidential elections aims to encourage Roma voters to participate in the elections and to be part of the decision makers. With the participation of the elections, Roma have the opportunity to transfer their collective interests which will be part of the requests to the candidates for the presidents of the country.

We Roma guided by the arguments of inadequate equitable representation in the state and public administration, as well as the lack of systemic solutions to the problems of Roma noted by national and international organizations, we believe that the state should invest more attention and efforts to solve the problems that affect them Roma and inclusion of the Roma community in the social flows.

After consultation with Roma citizens, in order to increase the inclusion of Roma in social flows and at the same time a guarantee for the success of the country's future, AVAJA, as a civic initiative aimed at articulating the voice of the Roma community

  • Roma should be at least 2% represented in the state and public administration by 2020 in order to maintain equitable representation by institutions, in particular ministries
  • Dual budget allocation for solving Roma problems by 2020
  • Double realization of capital investments in Roma settlements by 2020


The hidden constituency: Will Roma voters decide next month’s European elections?

The celebration of International Roma Day this month took place under particularly grim circumstances. Two weeks ago in France groups of teenagers attacked Roma communities after a rumour spread on social media that they were kidnapping children.

Not long after in Italy, neo-fascist group Casa Pound and the far-right Forza Nuova held violent protests against the transfer of Roma people, including 33 children, to a reception center in a Rome suburb.

Despite all attempts of extermination in European history, we Roma have kept our language, traditions and culture. This is the spirit of forty-seven years ago this month—April 8, 1971—when we decided at a meeting in London that we no longer would tolerate being described as “gypsies.”

We were Roma: one people across Europe, who, through our rights in a democratic and open Europe, could travel freely between countries to meet with others who shared the same culture and identity. Symbolically, we marked our newly-found unity by adopting the Roma flag and the Roma anthem.

Since then, Roma have continuously supported the European project, and in the past decade, the European Union in its turn has drawn attention to the plight of Roma and urged governments to do more to include Europe’s largest and most disadvantaged ethnic minority.

Link: https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/world/roma-eu-elections-european-parliament-france-italy-bulgaria-hungary?fbclid=IwAR0pdMAYLSZlpMytIh-_k91clp319g8_nhYu7_kZC2Mhb6xnEXz7zZohGMU

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