Fierce criticism of the government, postponement of elections, withdrawal of Ivanov’s abolition, freeing of the media, depoliticization of the judiciary and many other measures and reforms for overcoming the political crisis in Macedonia, are some of the views of the highest representatives of over twenty political parties that were part of the fourth discussion on the topic “Pluralism and Political Crisis”, which was organized by CIVIL – Center for Freedom.
The public discussion was attended by over 50 representatives of civil society, the media, civic initiatives and diplomatic offices and monitoring missions in Republic of Macedonia.
Xhabir Deralla, CIVIL, opened the topics and issues for discussion and presented the views, recommendations and demands of the organization. The electoral process, the implications of the decision to boycott the elections, questions on whether it will contribute to resolving or deepening the crisis, where the opening thesis for discussion. Furthermore, there were discussions on whether there should be a new date set for elections or if conditions need to be first created for holding free elections and then have the date set for the elections.
Pavle Trajanov, President of the Democratic Union, was the first to speak. “If VMRO-DPMNE are the only ones that will go to elections, the crisis will deepen and will become even more difficult. There shouldn’t be a new date for elections until the reforms have been implemented. An expert (not political) government needs to be established”, considers Trajanov.
Ivon Velickovski from the Liberal party, spoke on the political crisis and what needs to be done to overcome the crisis. “The new plural political map of Macedonia is being drawn, which for some maybe frightening, but for us is encouraging. A concentrative government needs to be established, one that will be non-inclusive for party apparatus people, but inclusive for activists and the civil society sector. There should be civilian control over the secret services, media reforms, electoral unit, and the census. The parties can agree only on the date for when to have the Tree Day, but not on the date for elections, stressed Velickovski.
Resignation of the State Election Commission, because of the unrevised Voters Register, should be a resolution to this political crisis, considers Liljana Popovska from DOM. According to her, the assertions of the SEC that the Voters Register is revised, are contradictory to their statement of 330 thousand inconsistent people.
“The Gruevski family have turned VMRO-DPMNE into a criminal association. There will be no elections on June 5. Veljanovski will convene the Parliament again. Elections have to be held, and will be held, once conditions are created. Ivanov’s abolition is putting a stamp on and verifying crime. Imagine the panic Gruevski must have been in when he made his last desperate move, using the President of the country”, concluded Goran Misovski from NSDP.
Erdogan Sarac from DNET, welcomed the opportunity and the space this discussion had provided for representatives of the Turkish community in Macedonia. “I am glad that others, and not just Macedonians and Albanians, also have the opportunity to speak here. We have come to this situation because of the lack of statesmanship capacity of the people in power. Let the citizen live, so that the country can live”, said Sarac.
“Without a solution, there cannot be elections. Without reforms, there cannot be any discussions on the date for the elections in Macedonia. The consequences will be very difficult for the state and the citizens if there are elections on June 5. The solution is in an expert government, for national salvation. Without restoring the rule of law, there cannot be elections, agreed Vesel Memedi from NDP.
For Agon Ferati, Vice-President of DR- DPA, “the consequences that citizens could suffer if minimum reforms for raising representation and democracy are not implemented, are terrible. There should also be inner-party reforms, in order for the representatives to be able to represent the citizens in a more dignified manner. The model with 6 electoral units and the servility towards the political party leaders do not guarantee neither inner-party reforms, nor reforms at the national level”.
“The mistake was made in Przino by setting the date, before dealing with the reforms with which the public is familiar with. The institutions need to revise the Voters Register. Reforms need to be implemented, without having a date fixed. With the help of the international community, with the help of the new German special envoy, with the help of all of us, this crisis that has been created by VMRO/DUI/DPA will be resolved”, highlighted Zulfi Adili from Uniteti.
Slobodan Ugrinovski of Tito’s Left Forces, followed up on the view that there are no conditions for holding free, fair and democratic elections on June 5. “There are no conditions for elections. The abolition has made the situation more complex. Four people cannot solve the situation, the others should also be included. The decisions of Przino are ineffectual, did the opposition not know who it’s dealing with? Like never before, the opposition and the citizens are strong and can crush the government like a truck can crush a frog”, said Ugrinovski.
The President of NDM, Janko Bacev, shared a different view regarding the issue on whether conditions have been fulfilled for holding elections on June 5. “We will participate in these elections, and tomorrow we are going to submit candidate lists. This crisis needs to be resolved at home, with our forces. The international representatives are here, tomorrow they are gone. The Voters Register is somewhat in order. The information on the 300 or 500 phantom voters is not correct”, says Bacev.
“The situation is worse than it seems. The only thing stopping it from getting more serious are the Albanians and their parties who have showed high sense of statehood, for which I sincerely thank them. It is difficult without a mother, it is difficult without a father, but it is most difficult without a homeland”, said Lambe Arnaudov from VMRO-NP.
Zekirija Ibrahimi from Besa, thinks that serious solutions and changes are needed to overcome the crisis. “Macedonia does not need cosmetic reforms, but rather a radical redefinition. Unfortunately, the reality today confirms our conclusion: that the President is abusing his function with the abolition, the Prime Minister has been pardoned several times, and so on. It is a misfortune to be a citizen of such a country. We do not need quick solutions, but rather a radical redefinition, so that the crisis is not repeated again. There are no conditions for holding elections on June 5, and Besa will not participate in elections that legitimize theft and dictatorship”, concluded Ibrahimi.
The state or the party, asked Nikola Babovski from the Democratic Union of the Vlachs. “Unfortunately, for many people in Macedonia, currently neither one of them has significance, the only thing that matters to them is how to save their heads, through the abolition that was granted to some by Ivanov. In Macedonia we are fighting against domestic fascism. Macedonia does not deserve criminal elections. We will not have credible elections as long as the law is not restored, and not the parties”, considers Babovski.
Jove Kekenovski, one of the founders of FRODEM, believes that the negotiations that are currently taking place are not going to bring positive changes. “Secret negotiations are being held, I am becoming a pessimist and think that such debates are pointless, but let it remain written. The current negotiators lack capacity and credibility to resolve the crisis. A year after the signing of the Przino Agreement, the situation has become worse. We have a tense situation, being on the verge of a fratricidal war, for the salvation of the politicians. We have a legal, constitutional and security crisis. The fifth element needs to be included that will represent the civil society sector, small parties and fractions, which will wake up those who are negotiating. An expert government is needed, for a democratic consolidation”, recommended Kekenovski.
According to Marjan Ognjanovski from United for Macedonia, “the government is exposed, it is clear even to the little children what has been happening in these ten years of ruling by this bunch of criminals. The Przino Agreement needs to implemented fully, the abolition of the so-called President Ivanov needs to be withdrawn in order to allow for unhindered functioning of the Special Prosecutor’s Office, so that criminals may end in the historical dump, and the honest people of VMRO-DPMNE, which I am sure exist, get a chance”.
“Macedonia can succeed if we are unselfish and leave egotism aside. Most of the opposition parties were indirectly involved in Przino, we had meetings, coordination, and it is dishonest to say that we were not involved. Elections cannot be held on June 5, and we are in a crisis thanks to DPMNE and the ruling parties”, says Biljana Jovanovska from PEP 21.
Akija Mustafovski, PEI, spoke about the experience of the leader of his party. “We know how this corrupted government has acted, starting with the destruction of Kosmos and up to the pressure on our president. The abolition needs to be withdrawn, an expert government should be formed, and a date should not be set as long as conditions are not created for elections. I ask myself, how can the people who created the crisis now negotiate”, asked Mustafovski.
The views of Levica were presented by Marija Jones, as its leader, Zdravko Saveski, is under house arrest. Words that can be heard on the streets of Skopje are: rule of law and democracy. In order for the law to rule, we all need to agree. Let us once see the rule of law.
“In order to build a free and democratic society for all citizens, we need to know each other, but for this, we need to hear each other. The announced boycott by the opposition is more than reasonable, conditions have not been fulfilled, and we also have the scandalous decision made by Ivanov. Elections in which someone will be competing with oneself will not be recognized by anyone, but we need to try to avoid this”, stated Faton Aliti from PDP in his address.
Stojanco Angelov from the political party Dostoinstvo (Dignity), is determined that elections on June 5 should not be allowed. “There shouldn’t be elections on June 5, they must not be held, we will not allow this. The date cannot be determined in advance, but it also cannot be postponed for infinity. Six to twelve months is enough time for preparation of general elections – local, parliamentary and presidential for the following spring”. Angelov addressed Zoran Zaev, as he called him, “the informal leader of the opposition”, with a recommendation for him to press for the demand for Macedonia to become one electoral unit.
The last person to take part in the public discussion was Zoran Zaev, leader of the only political party that is part of the Przino Agreement, who accepted CIVIL’s invitation for participating at today’s event. “There are no negotiations, there are bilateral talks, we and the other parties – with international representatives. There will be negotiations once the abolition is withdrawn. There will be no elections on June 5, not because of Zoran Zaev, but because of the citizens who are on the streets, and because of all the arguments. Can the Parliament be convened? Yes! Five-six or more members of the SEC just need to inform the President of the Assembly, Trajko Veljanovski, that there are no conditions for holding elections, because the Voters Register has not been revised. That is enough to have the Parliament convened”, suggested Zaev. According to him the abolition has to be withdrawn, because it is unconstitutional. Therefore, Zaev as one of those who were pardoned, does not accept the abolition.
The public discussion, which in addition to representatives of political parties was also attended by a large number of media, the civil society sector and diplomatic and consular missions in the country, ended with replies to the large number of questions from those who were present, and also to questions from Twitter and Facebook.
This post is also available in: Macedonian