Tuesday, May 28, 2024

„ONE SOCIETY“ ACCORDING TO ZAEV OR AHMETI

  • If we put aside the political battle between SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE, it can be said that these elections are characteristic in several ways.
  • SDSM and its leader Zoran Zaev are strengthening their coalition capacity and for the first time in the “we can” coalition, among other parties, includes Besa.
  • The concept offered by DUI this time is a counter-variant of Zaev’s concept of “one society for all”.
  • Will Macedonia face the possibility of organizing another election immediately after the elections, and thus another political crisis?

 

Author: Ljubisa Nikolovski

 

Early elections in 2020 will be held on Wednesday, July 15, during a coronavirus pandemic. This term is in fact a compromise reached by the political parties after only two or three leadership meetings, although it seemed that the parties that had completely different proposals on when the elections should take place are unlikely to find a common solution. The OSCE / ODIHR mission was also involved in the bidding, which was initially called for on July 5, backed by SDSM and the government. A term that legally emerged as a continuation of the suspended pre-arranged election date – April 12. But for obvious reasons, and that is the pandemic of Covid 19, they were postponed.

Now everything seems to be ready for the elections. The campaign is in its final stages, the ODIHR mission, although in a reduced composition, is still in operation, the Infectious Diseases Commission has prepared a protocol for conduct during the elections, and the SEC has revised the schedule and updated the Voters’ List.

CHARACTERISTIC ELECTIONS FOR SOME THINGS

This is also evident in the positioning of VMRO-DPMNE during the election campaign. She still has vague views on the conditionality of EU and NATO membership, respecting the Prespa Agreement and the amended Constitution.

4 coalitions and 11 parties are participating in the race. The campaign is coming to an end.

Of course, in these elections as well, the main battle for power will be between SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE and the coalitions led by them, “We Can” and “Recovery”. Therefore, it is logical that this confrontation should be in the center of public attention, both in the media and through the polls that predict the mood of the citizens. The severity of the conflict is reflected in the vocabulary during the campaign, which takes place mainly through television promotion of political party programs, then with the presentation of the holders of parliamentary lists, the videos dominate, but this time there are meetings with citizens, such as and mini-rallies in compliance with distance recommendations.

If we put aside the political battle between these two parties, it can be said that these elections are characteristic in several ways.

Namely, VMRO-DPMNE for the first time in ten years acts as an opposition. This is a completely new role in which the party found itself after the 2016 elections failed to form a government even though it had won two terms more than SDSM. With all the baggage inherited from its undisputed leader Nikola Gruevski, the party’s new president, Hristijan Mickoski, is trying to balance politically in all key decisions for the country. This is also evident in the positioning of VMRO-DPMNE during the election campaign. She still has vague views on the conditionality of EU and NATO membership, respecting the Prespa Agreement and the amended Constitution. In the public discourse, Mickoski firmly adheres to the old notions of statehood, as a state primarily of the Macedonians, not accepting the reality of a multiethnic society. Hence the avoidance of answers for a possible post-election coalition with an Albanian party, which again reduces the capacity to form a government.

In the spirit of tradition, the negative campaign is noticeable, in which it prefers to blame the ruling SDSM and especially its leader Zoran Zaev, rather than to promote itself and its program.

On the other hand, SDSM and its leader Zoran Zaev are strengthening their coalition capacity and for the first time in the “we can” coalition, among other parties, includes Besa. It is the first time in plural Macedonia that a pre-election coalition of one Albanian party has been formed with one Macedonian party, which includes other parties from other ethnic communities. With that, Zaev continues to implement the concept “one society for all” with which he overthrew the regime of Nikola Gruevski. However, the fact remains that Zaev chooses Kasami and Besa as coalition partners, not Ahmeti and DUI, a party with which he has somehow pushed the mandate in which we became a member of NATO and strengthened the positions for negotiations with the EU. Probably, Zaev’s mathematics go to the line that the “We Can” coalition, constituted in this way, can win enough mandates to form a government immediately. Whether this is good math remains to be seen. But since everything is possible in politics, it will not be strange if in a situation of “get up and panic”, DUI will not be called for dialogue again. This is all the more so since DUI leader Ali Ahmeti has already stated that SDSM would be more suitable for them as a coalition partner.

However, what will mark and remember these elections is that DUI, the largest party of Albanians in Northern Macedonia, joined the race for prime minister with an Albanian candidate. This topic failed to emerge during the full-capacity election campaign, but it is more than certain that it will be a hot topic immediately after the election, when a parliamentary majority is required to win a mandate to form a government.

DUI’S ULTIMATE GOAL  WITH “PRIME MINISTER CANDIDATE”

Whether this is the ultimate goal of DUI is uncertain, but it is probably a good position to win at least the position of speaker in Parliament, a position that is very important, and which DUI has had so far and used to the last minute.

Naser Ziberi’s entry into the race as a non-partisan candidate proposed by DUI was supposed to shift the traditional confrontations between only the two leaders of the largest Macedonian parties, SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE. Although so far ignored by the media, Naser Ziberi has emerged as a serious candidate for prime minister, although it is more than certain that “his” DUI will not be able to win enough votes to be able to immediately get a mandate from the president to form a government. the constitution is sine qua non. But probably starting from the assumption that in these elections the results between the two Macedonian parties will be equal, they believe that their negotiating potential will increase if they win the most votes between the Albanian parties and thus be in a position to impose themselves as a coalition partner. In those bargains, they would look for a prime minister.

Whether this is the ultimate goal of DUI is uncertain, but it is probably a good position to win at least the position of speaker in Parliament, a position that is very important, and which DUI has had so far and used to the last minute.

Namely, having in mind the outcome of the last elections when the result was almost equal between VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM, but not enough for self-government, DUI, although decimated, decided to form a coalition with SDSM and thus form the current government coalition.

Whether the DUI will again be the best-ranked Albanian party is highly uncertain, and thus whether it will be a key player in forming a parliamentary majority. Predictions are different and contradictory. But for now, the public discourse is dominated by those who do not attribute a bright future to DUI, and even those who think that the party will surely go into opposition, and thus into oblivion. However, the polls on the mood of the citizens show that this party is still in a certain advantage over the others. But what that will mean in parliamentary terms is a big unknown.

However, the party’s leadership is convinced that their candidate for prime minister will be given the mandate to form a government by the country’s president.

Zaev and Mickovski immediately reacted to this self-confident and aggressive performance of DUI, rejecting the possibility of an Albanian Prime Minister in the way that DUI represents it, and understood as post-election blackmail to form a parliamentary majority and government. This also made them publicly bid on who would be given how many MPs in case they had to form a minority government, only DUI not to enter a position to blackmail.

For now, the publicly offered market with MPs is unlikely to be implemented in practice, and on the other hand, blackmail by DUI is not inevitable. Then the question arises whether Macedonia will face the possibility of organizing another election immediately after the elections and thus another political crisis?

Probably not, given the price that the state, ie the citizens will have to pay from such an outcome. So one will have to give in. If so, then we can really think about forming a minority government, as a substitute for a long-standing broad coalition mentioned in the public eye, as an allegedly preferred option by the international community. The difference would be that it would not be about a non-functional technical government like this Pr прino, but about an original-political government with a political platform that would be supported by all or a sufficient number of MPs. The logic for the existence of such an opportunity, although so far only theoretically finds a stronghold in the fact that DUI and not only DUI but also all Albanian parties are very much in favor of constantly correlating with Western partners EU and primarily the United States. That is why the dose of doubt in the self-confidence of Artan Grubi, Bujar Osmani and Izet Mexhiti that the Albanian Prime Minister will surely happen in this election, comes precisely from the possibility of some kind of whisper from outside. Or it is an ordinary bluff of the old trciky man Ali Ahmeti.

However, it should be borne in mind that the disadvantage of such minority governments is that they do not last long! But of course they are legal and legitimate! Which means that DUI’s request to enter the race for prime minister is constitutionally justified.

The media are still sticking to the old practice and unjustifiably ignoring Ziberi’s request in person, but also of the party that is running for prime minister, and for him to be involved in the debates so that he can present his political platform.

Meanwhile, the two leaders, Zaev and Mickoski, have declared themselves candidates for prime minister. Such statements, which may be aimed at eliminating competition in public appearances in order not to blunt the sword of mutual confrontation, went so far as to state reasons that do not correspond to the reality that a prime minister is made at the request of citizens. Namely, according to Article 90 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic of Macedonia is obliged within ten days from the constitution of the Assembly to entrust the mandate for the composition of the Government to a candidate of the party, ie the parties that have a majority in the Assembly.

THE COUNTERVARIANT OF THE ZAEV CONCEPT

From there, it will not be the same whether SDSM, VMRO-DPMNE or DUI will lead the Republic of Northern Macedonia. From that point of view, the country will have far-reaching not only political but also broad social changes.

The concept offered by DUI this time is a counter-variant of Zaev’s concept of “one society for all”. And that is twofold: first he returns the blow by saying that – if that is really the case, then Zaev’s is “fake” if in that society a representative of another ethnic community cannot be prime minister. But what DUI knows, but does not articulate, is that the Zaev concept is essentially a civic concept that not only defeated Gruevski and VMRO-DPMNE in the last elections, but also defeated the ethnocentrism of DUI and all other Albanian parties. For all of them, Macedonia is primarily a country of ethnicities, not a civil state. DUI does not hide that either, on the contrary, it exposes it. For her outspoken representatives of the “Albanian Prime Minister” concept, it is still too early for civil society. But unlike him, their prime ministerial candidate, Nasser Ziberi, speaks of the above-mentioned civic concept that he advocates. Or it could be due to the fact that he is a supra-party candidate and that according to his platform he stands for being the prime minister of all citizens, not preferring the rights of Albanians and not exclusively their collective rights. But on the other hand, he immediately advocated for the obligatory study of the Albanian language as well as other aspects of collectivism, such as Macedonian and Albanian, together at the head of strategic state institutions, or a consensus on changing the anthem.

Such a dual position of a party behind a candidate and ousted a non-partisan candidate is quite unsustainable when it comes to a prime minister. If he were president, it would be understandable. But the Prime Minister is understood to have a platform on which to perform and to be guided by the Government. But the proposing party also has its own platform. The answer is that the government program is always common and holds and does not hold. The controversy further escalates if the party that nominated the prime minister does not agree with the way the government is run. Then he can easily give up and the government can fall. Conversely, what if the prime minister at some point disagrees with the ideas and platform of the party that nominated him? Resignation, and a new government?

That is why these elections will be unique in many ways, but also uncertain. Not only after the results in the number of MPs, but also according to the concept of the future that the state will follow. From there, it will not be the same whether SDSM, VMRO-DPMNE or DUI will lead the Republic of Northern Macedonia. From that point of view, the country will have far-reaching not only political but also broad social changes.

 

 

 

 

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