Indebted, discorded and insecure, Macedonia has only a few days before political leaders are due to bring decision on a new date for early elections, according to the latest political agreement (20 july 2016) for overcoming the political crisis that shakes the country for years. Leaders of the four political parties that are negotiating ways to overcome political crisis are due to set the date for early parliamentary elections. Little has been achieved since the latest agreement, signed by political leaders on July 20, 2016, mediated by US and EU diplomats.
In the meanwhile, while uncertainty is growing among citizens on whether a date for elections will be set, so is the indebtedness of the country. Not even the Eurobond of 450 million euros can cover the expenses of the government. So now, the budget deficit in the GDP has deepened to 4 percent. With a budget revision that has been already sent to Parliament, the families that have suffered great damage from the floods will receive advance payments in the minimal amount of 500 euro. The government is proposing a second revision, but just cannot give up on the “capital projects” – the Panoramic wheel and Heavenly garden worth 33 million euros.
The citizens – in favor of modern infrastructure, and against quasi-Baroque, unable to change the decisions of the Government, have announced protests alongside the Vardar River. They consider the changes the government is proposing with the new revision to be extremely discord, shameful and with lack of statesmanship, and accuse VMRO-DPMNE of “wanting to provide money for election manipulations on the account of the victims”.
Macedonia’s credit rating is falling
According to the latest report of the “Fitch” rating agency, Macedonia’s credit rating has downgraded from BB+ to BB. And all of this is because of the latest July borrowing with the Eurobond, the political crisis that started with the published scandals and accusations for corruption in the government in February last year. The several months of protests, the failure of the Przino Agreement and the unsuccessful parliamentary elections in April and June this year, have all contributed to the fall of the rating. But, also the obstructions that are made to the work of the Special Prosecutor’s Office. And now, the logical question is – how can the credit rating of a country which is in an economic renaissance be falling?!
State Election Commission postpones deadline for controversial voters
The 30.502 citizens on the list of controversial voters of the State Election Commission (SEC), will, nevertheless, be able to register additionally. Even though the deadline for registering was on August 19, the SEC decided to extend it for 15 days after the announcement of the early parliamentary elections, when unregistered voters will be able to regulate their right to vote. Only one quarter of the controversial voters have registered in the SEC, or more precisely 8.922 citizens. However, unregistered voters will be deleted after the Voters Register is closed.
For SDSM, the revision of the Voters Register has confirmed the opposition’s thesis that in Republic of Macedonia there are phantom voters, registered in the Voters Register, which were abused during the election process. Because, now after the deadline for registration has passed, it has been proven that 30 thousand voters that figured in the Voters Register do not exist.
For the ruling VMRO-DPMNE, these accusations are just “desperate biddings of the SDSM leadership on the number of phantoms, in the Fifth and Sixth electoral unit, ridiculousness with the purpose of harassing citizens in order to prove that they are not phantoms”.
However, reactions of citizens continue in CIVIL. They complain that the “phantoms” have not been corrected, despite the reports, and that there are cases when people due to health problems had not registered, because as they claim they had requested, but had not received an adequate intervention from the SEC.
Special Prosecutor’s Office speeds up the pace
Special Public Prosecutor Katica Janeva, announced last week that there would be an increased frequency of people in the prosecution, who with their knowledge will contribute to clarifying certain circumstances in the procedures of the unauthorized wiretapped conversations that have been published and unpublished until now. Details will not be revealed due to confidentiality of the preliminary investigation. “Everyone who has violated the law needs to be held responsible, even if that means that we will shake the entire political system”, says the SPO.
The pace of work is really faster, but far from any judicial resolutions at the moment. The Criminal Council of the Basic Court Skopje 1 has extended the house arrest of Bitola Mayor Vladimir Taleski for an additional 30 days, for the case “Transporter”. Another significant issue is Taleski’s signing of documents from his home.
The interrogation for the “Fortress” case has been delayed, because former Minister Gordana Jankulovska, who is suspected for illegal destruction of equipment, has demanded and inspection in the documents.
The interrogation of the Mayor of the Municipality of Center Andrej Zernovski, for the case of the demolishing of the Municipality in 2013, lasted for three hours. He told Gruevski that soon they will settle scores in court.
In the role of witnesses, Menduh Taci, DPA leader, and Samka Ibraimovski, leader of the Party for Total Emancipation of Roma, are to appear now in the SPO.
And the case of “Spy”, it is still within the Council of Public Prosecutors, instead of the SPO. The SPO has already established jurisdiction over the case, and at the beginning of the month also demanded the case against journalist Zoran Bozinovski, who is part of the case.
Ad-hoc body on media in process of formation
The Association of Journalist of Macedonia (AJM) accuses that journalist Zoran Bozinovski (suspect in the case of “Spy”), is deliberately being held in custody, “in order not to announce new scandals on the government during the pre-election period”. The AJM consider that in this way the Public Prosecution is buying time, as there is no solid evidence against Bozinovski.
The union association believes that the Ad-hoc body, which in this period is in the phase of formation, does not have the capacity to deal with all the anomalies in the media sphere. However, members of the Ad-hoc body are prepared to the “pressing” that awaits them, but promise integrity, monitoring for an objective and balanced election competition of political rivals in the media field. The front of objective journalism in MTV will defend the new chief editor, who is soon to be appointed by the opposition.