Interim Deputy Public Administration Minister Nevenka Stamenkovska – Stojkovski warned that over 35.000 public sector employees will be exposed to a serious risk during the election if it is held in June, as the ruling SDSM party insists.
There are over 3.000 polling stations in Macedonia, and each has to be manned by over 10 officials, not counting party observers. The officials are picked among public sector employees and given a modest reimbursement. Stamenkovska warned that each of them will have to interact with hundreds of voters on election day, causing serious risks for spreading the coronavirus.
The public sector employees will be given no choice and will be ordered into the polling stations to be cannon fodder. If they refuse to participate, they can face a disciplinary procedure, Stamenovska added.
SDSM demands that election take place in June, apparently counting on low turnout to prop up its chances. This despite the fact that Macedonia has a stubbornly high infection rate, with dozens of new cases diagnosed daily, and between 1 and four deaths reported each day. The opposition parties insist that elections take place in August or September, when the situation with the epidemic will be clearer and the numbers are hopefully much lower. But SDSM threatens to hold elections even without the main opposition VMRO-DPMNE party participating in it. The elderly, who are most susceptible to the virus, are also the most frequent voters. Even if the voters can hope to avoid the virus carriers among the crowd of voters, the odds that the members of the election commission, who need to interact with all voters, can avoid exposure are very slim.