“Pre-election periods are times when countries are particularly vulnerable to discriminatory speech and intolerance, which can have serious consequences,” the OSCE Mission to Skopje said on Thursday. As it was pointed out, data collected by it and local CSOs during the past seven years shows that hate crime incidents historically increase in the country during pre-election periods, especially on the basis of ethnic identity and political affiliation. “This is a particularly important time for the country, as North Macedonia pursues its strategic objectives. Free, fair, and hate-free elections are essential. The OSCE Mission to Skopje condemns all forms of racism, antisemitism and intolerance. In the current period and at all times, the Mission calls on members and supporters of all political parties to refrain from voicing and sharing offensive content that denigrates on the basis of ethnicity, religion or belief, or other grounds,” the Mission added.