Common responsibility for the stability and democratization

Civil society organizations to the EU and USA:

We address You with this letter in the wake of the new round of negotiations scheduled to take place on June 10th, in Brussels, between the leaders of the two biggest political parties in Macedonia, under the auspices of the EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

Occasion for this letter, in addition to the need to reiterate the “red lines” in negotiations, is the most recent statement made by the EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn wherein he qualified the last round of parliamentary elections held in 2014 as generally positive, indicating that OSCE/ODIHR’s monitoring reports have established a generally democratic atmosphere during the elections.

Propelled by such statement, we would like to remind that efficiently implemented elections do not necessary mean fair and democratic elections.

In that, it should not be forgotten that in their report, referenced by the EU Commissioner Hahn, OSCE/ODIHR have enlisted a series of inconsistencies and irregularities in the election process, staring from the media’s selective approach to provision of information, persecution of different-minded people, non-separation of the state and party and statement that in the course of elections one could have felt structural violence, primarily affecting the state administration. Finally, OSCE/ODIHR mission at that time could not have been aware of the contents of wiretapped conversations that in the most transparent manner reveal the methods applied to perform election violence and frauds. Truth to be told, non-governmental organizations monitoring the elections have established purchase of votes, agitation and pressure exercised on employees in the state administration, lack of credibility in the Voter List, as well as uncontrolled issuance of personal identification documents and series of other irregularities.

In that sense, we regard the statement of EU Commissioner Hahn as highly unprincipled and at least unsustainable, having in mind that in the same statement Hahn himself also said that conversations published by the opposition include contents that are clearly indicative of criminal acts which need to be further investigated.

Therefore, we are unclear about the motive behind the positive assessment of the said elections, i.e. whether it hints that Gruevski could be in charge of organizing and implementing the elections in 2016? The Government of Nikola Gruevski is marred by proven practices on falsifying the elections, thus completely delegitimizing the will of citizens. Actually, the demand for Nikola Gruevski to resign from office and for a caretaker government to be established, tasked with implementation of early parliamentary elections in April 2016, is based on the premise that the Government of Nikola Gruevski does not have the legitimacy to be entrusted with such endeavor, especially after having heard the so-called “bombs” disclosed by SDSM’s leader.

Moreover, these conversations reveal that the ruling parties do not shy away from abusing the institutional mechanisms and the power they enjoy from the position of governance for the purpose of threatening and blackmailing citizens, waging war against those of different mind, or disciplining their party followers. Here, it should be stressed that such practices are not incidental, but rather well-established daily routines that we, the citizens, are regularly faced with. In truth, we would like to indicate that throughout this period of negotiations Nikola Gruevski applies the same methods of pressures, threats and persecution of critically-minded people who speak about apprehension of journalists, cars being set on fire, physical attacks on civil society activists, which have not been duly resolved by the competent institutions.

That is why Gruevski must resign from office in an act of political responsibility for what has been done to present. His resignation would mean that neither he nor his team of ministers have the credibility to be part of the caretaker government mandated with the resolution of the deep political crisis in Macedonia and with the organization of fair, free and democratic elections. In addition, we reiterate that, in parallel with the establishment of a caretaker government, several structural reforms are needed, such as revision of the Voter List, freeing the public broadcaster MRT from the government’s control and appointment of an independent Public Prosecutor.

Finally, we would like to advise the European Union that it holds a special responsibility to implement European values such as democracy, rule of law and protection of human rights, in Macedonia. Also, the EU and USA are responsible for the peace, stability and democratization of our country in the capacity of guarantors of the Ohrid Framework Agreement from 2001. Such responsibility implies assisting the state in essential resolution of the political crisis and eradication of dictatorship practices pursued by the current government. Therefore, this political crisis cannot and must not be perceived as dispute between two political parties, but rather as citizens’ struggle against the autocratic government. Otherwise, if the EU and USA relativize the deeply rooted problems with democracy and operation of institutions in Macedonia they could assist in maintaining the dictatorship and further disappointment of the most honest European-oriented citizens wishing a democratic and prosperous Macedonia.

The letter was signed by 61 civil society organizations.

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