Elections are like the battle of Waterloo!

Sasho Ordanoski. / Photo: Free Press

The meaning of the restrictions on the duration of official election campaigns in different democracies in the world comes down to several assumptions, which should ensure the integrity of the elections: to ensure the neutrality of public administration and state institutions during the campaign, to allow free access to the media, to control the amount of money spent on the campaign, to regulate some formal aspects of the functioning of the system (various time-limited monitoring, deadlines for candidate applications, etc.), to limit the date by which polls can be published, and in order to provide fair treatment and access to all those, party and non-party organized, who want to "run" for an election function.

Finally, in most democracies, what is called "election silence" works, at least 24 hours before election day, so that voters can "sort out their thoughts" before deciding who (and whether) they will round up.

That set of issues is formally regulated in our election legislation. Of course, the "good intentions" of the legislator are violated by who will get how.

For example, the campaign for these local elections began weeks and even months before the official start of the campaign. The public is flooded with party attacks and counterattacks, mostly personal, on potential and real candidates for the election. The opposition fires all its tools, the government responds with wide state promotions of activities aimed at local election mathematics, and the tragedy with the covid hospital in Tetovo will remain as one of the darkest spots in the history of Macedonian political campaigns where the fate of the victims and the survivors are in the background before the immediate political benefit that can be "extracted" from that unfortunate event.

Much of all that pre-election hysterical noise can not be controlled, even if there is readiness for it from the party headquarters, due to the existence of social networks and platforms. There, the pre-election "meadow" has been plowing since spring for autumn, without pardon for anyone, and we have become accustomed to hate speech there, no age, no privacy, no gender, no political affiliation, no butur, no usul, in all available audiovisual media formats!

Classic print media is under pressure, internet portals even more so, the fight for clicks and likes is like the Battle of Waterloo, one of the bloodiest battles in modern history, in which the French, in one day, lost about 40.000 troops, the British and the Dutch about 15.000, and the Prussians 7.000 people in uniform. Blood to the knees, the earth was not seen from the dead and wounded!

Well, I say to myself, shouldn't we think about abolishing the strict, formal, pre-election campaign "constraints", which no one respects anyway? Here the campaigns are conducted 365 days a year, there is no break - we have seen - even for state or religious holidays. No one has substantial control over the money spent, nor are the conditions for the candidates "fair and balanced", and we only put the institutions that should control it in a position to compromise, because they have to implement laws and regulations that everyone is aware of. that they are (almost) unenforceable.

Maybe if the whole process is completely liberalized, without strict deadlines and hard limits, things will go better, because this way they will only get worse…

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