Maricic: The ruling parties are reluctant to free and democratic elections

CIVIL- Center for Freedom continues with the practice of being an open platform for views and analyses in regards to the socio-political processes in the electorate context.

CIVIL Media conducted a mini series of interviews with leading intellectuals, public figures in the social sphere and experts and analysts, from which a number of interesting and significant perspectives and analyses were received. They were all asked the same questions relating to the development of the negotiations for overcoming the political crisis, the obstructions and violations of the Przino Agreement, and the opportunities for creating the right conditions for free elections in April 2016.

These discussions are part of the activities of the Project “Free elections for free citizens”, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Activist Bojan Maricic, Executive Director of the Macedonian Center for European Education, considers that the three issues that will continue to be challenging are the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office, the media law package and the parliamentary control over the secret services, and also that the participation of the civil society in implementing the elections is crucial…

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CIVIL Media: How do you assess the political process in Macedonia in the context of the implementation of the Przino Agreement?

MARICIC: The implementation of the Przino Agreement is equally difficult as any other issue implemented with the willingness of the main political parties, it is an image of the so-called – political dialogue in Macedonia. The fact that our political system and in general, process, cannot run without serious international mediation on a daily basis, that is precisely what was being expected when the agreement was reached. As a matter of fact, if this wasn’t the case, there would have been no need of signing an agreement. Unfortunately, a great portion of the general public expected everything to go faster and smoother, but there was a part that expected nothing at all to happen. Therefore, I think we should be realistic and say that things are not running ideally. The setbacks and delays are serious, but they are also part of the political struggle, and we can expect that whether everything will be implemented as it should be will remain uncertain to the end. And I think that that agreement should bring the path to fair and democratic elections, which should be a solution to the political crisis and the normalization of Macedonia.

CIVIL Media: What are the most serious violations of the Przino Agreement?

MARICIC: The most serious violation is that all the deadlines have been passed. First of all, except for the opposition returning to Parliament on first of September and the appointing of the Special Public Prosecutor on September 15, all the other deadlines have practically expired. And right from the very beginning, in a way,  this undermines the credibility of the agreement, and puts into question whether it will ever be implemented, and whether on April 24 precisely, as this is the only deadline that is obviously fixed and one to which the political actors and the international community are adhering to. The question is whether then there will be conditions for fair and democratic elections, and this is where the biggest problem is. Otherwise, there are numerous violations, such as – hindering of the Special Public Prosecutor’s team, which became an entire political drama and brought the whole agreement into question, leading up to the current negotiations on the media law package that will also not be solved easily.  Possibly, we are also expecting for that parliamentary control of the Government, regarding the wiretapping, to also run with more difficulty. These are the three issues if we must choose: the Special Prosecutor's Office, the media law package and the parliamentary control over the secret services.

CIVIL Media: Can and how is it possible to create conditions for free elections in April 2016?

Maricic: Well, they are already being created. It is crucial to revise the voter register and to have the definite participation both of the opposition, and of the civil society organizations in implementing the elections. Because, as it is now, it is clear that there is no will among the ruling parties to have free and democratic elections. The question is how much of their maneuvering space will be limited until then. Here is where the role of the ministers proposed by the opposition is, that is exactly what the purpose of the transitional government was,  and here we also have the role of civil society organizations and citizens. I think that the key role will be within the civil society organizations that will need to activate the citizens to engage themselves more in relation to their voting rights, to show greater dignity, after all, to participate democratically in the elections. I think that every citizen should be aware that if the elections fail, or are in some way are manipulated or put into question, than this would return us again to the political crisis with an uncertain outcome. Not as in February this year, but in a much deeper crisis than the one we witnessed this year.

Marija Tegovska

Camera Dehran Muratov

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