Saturday, May 25, 2024

2023 SCENARIOS

VMRO-DPMNE has THE LEFT as its only ally for early elections. This alliance is the third challenge for Mickovski, which is a kind of sublimation of the first two. The coalition with THE LEFT brings problems both with ethnic Albanian parties and with the international factor.

Author: Xhelal Neziri

The largest opposition party in the country, VMRO-DPMNE, has long been calling for early elections. Guided by the latest polls, this party is convinced that in those possible parliamentary elections, which would be held in 2023, it would reap a victory that would lead to the seizure of power. In this way, the party would return to power after almost six years of action as the opposition.

VMRO-DPMNE, led by its former president Nikola Gruevski, was in power from 2006 to 2016. In this decade of rule, the party was in constant competition to gain more power, using all means possible political. As a result of this policy of the Macedonian right, which was based on the mood of the voters measured through regular polls, during this period the country even held four cycles of early parliamentary elections. Citizens elected deputies every two and a half years. After each election cycle, VMRO-DPMNE gained more power, except for those held in December 2016. In the 2014 elections, VMRO-DPMNE even won 61 deputies, a parliamentary majority that enabled it to form a government without forming a coalition with another party. Gruevski, however, decided to form a coalition with DUI, which won 19 seats in Parliament. But the figure of 61 MPs gave him a strong negotiating position.

Since December 2017, VMRO-DPMNE has a new leader – university professor Hristijan Mickovski. He took over the baton of leadership in the party after the electoral debacle in the local elections in October 2017, when the party won only five municipalities. In May of the same year, VMRO-DPMNE failed to form a government even though in the parliamentary elections it won by two MPs compared to the SDSM. The reason was the weak capacity of the coalition with the ethnic Albanian parties, but also the bad relations with the international factor that Mickovski inherited from his predecessor.

In recent public appearances, Mickovski is asking for 61 deputies. His attitude towards the Prespa Agreement with Greece, i.e. towards the new constitutional name of the state, and towards the Good Neighbor Agreement with Bulgaria, remains almost the same as his predecessor. After the deterioration of relations with the Alliance for Albanians, Mickovski also faces the lack of sufficient coalition capacities.

The reality of the political scene in North Macedonia is such that any party, which aims to be part of the government, must build a coalition capacity in relation to the parties of the other ethnic block. This means that there must be an attractive program, real partnerships and of course a correct public discourse on key topics. VMRO-DPMNE and the Alliance for Albanians tried to create a natural ideological cooperation, which will be comprehensive in relation to all voters with a right-wing worldview, regardless of whether they are ethnic Macedonians or Albanians. But they failed to create a common mobilizing idea that would unite them in their partnership. Cooperation’s that are based only on the pragmatic aspect, without any ideas or ideals, are short-lived and end with the announcement of the election results. The alliance finally realized that it cannot wait a century for VMRO-DPMNE to reform, especially when it comes to relations with key issues, such as relations with Bulgaria and Greece, on which European integration depends. On the other hand, BESA, as a political party, currently does not have the capacity to cover the entire opposition field.

In addition to the relationship with the Albanian parties, in 2023 VMRO-DPMNE will also have the second, biggest challenge: relations with the international factor in case it remains in its positions on the French Proposal. That is, if VMRO-DPMNE prevents constitutional changes to include ethnic Bulgarians, then we will have two options: either a government of national unity, or early elections together with presidential elections. The option of early elections would be a victory for VMRO-DPMNE, which has been persistently seeking them for more than a year, but it would mean freezing negotiations with the EU and losing at least a year in the membership process.

In addition to the relationship with the Albanian parties, in 2023 VMRO-DPMNE will also have the second, biggest challenge: relations with the international factor in case it remains in its positions on the French Proposal. That is, if VMRO-DPMNE prevents constitutional changes to include ethnic Bulgarians, then we will have two options: either a government of national unity, or early elections together with presidential elections. The option of early elections would be a victory for VMRO-DPMNE, which has been persistently seeking them for more than a year, but it would mean freezing negotiations with the EU and losing at least a year in the membership process..

VMRO-DPMNE has THE LEFT as its only ally for early elections. This alliance is the third challenge for Mickovski, which is a kind of sublimation of the first two. The coalition with The Left brings problems both with ethnic Albanian parties and with the international factor. With such a geostrategic orientation, THE LEFT can hardly be part of any government. If the formation of the next government will depend on THE LEFT, that government will never be formed. If any of the ethnic Albanian parties attempt to enter into any kind of cooperation with THE LEFT, then they will have to prepare to pay a heavy political bill.

The Left is a far-left party that uses populist means to gain as much support as possible. She says what she thinks most people want to hear from politicians. There is no rationality, vision, foresight or state building in the activity of these political parties. Their growth, however, has a threshold. And these kinds of parties are a test for the democratic capacity of society. Although democracy is facing a kind of crisis, it remains well immunized to protect itself from such attacks. In North Macedonia, there is enough democratic maturity to keep such extreme political phenomena marginal.

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