Note to Editors
Observation mission of the Congress in «the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia»
Strasbourg, 10.03.2005 - A delegation of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe will be observing the first and second round of municipal elections to be held on 13 and 27 March respectively in «the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia » at the invitation of the Chairman of the State Election Commission.
With a view to observing the first round of the elections, the Congress delegation, headed by Keith Whitmore (UK, ILDG) and including Sean O’Brien (Ireland, SOC), Christopher Newbury (UK, EPP/CD), Georg Spartanski (Bulgaria, EPP/CD), Ömür Aybar (Turkey, EPP/CD), Juliette Rémy and Erik Boven (consultants) and Jean-Paul Chauvet (Congress Secretariat), will meet high-level government officials, representatives of the main political parties, non-governmental organisations, mayors and associations of municipalities from 10 to 14 March. The Congress teams will observe the elections in several regions throughout the country.
The forthcoming municipal elections, as part of the process of decentralisation, are a crucial element in the implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement (OFA). Following the failure of the referendum held on 7 November 2004 because of a turnout below the minimum threshold, the August 2004 Law on Territorial Organisation remained effective, thus reducing the number of municipalities from 123 to 84 (plus one for the city of Skopje) and municipal elections were finally scheduled to take place on 13 March 2005.
A joint press conference with the OSCE is to take place on Monday, 14 March at 2pm in Skopje (Holiday Inn hotel).