CIVIL – Center for Freedom organized a series of events, panels and public discussions, with professors and human rights experts on topics related to the electoral processes and voting rights in the Republic of Macedonia. The participants of the events, each from their own aspect, expressed their own arguments for the necessity of ensuring normal conditions to conduct free elections with which the free will of the citizens will be truly respected. Here, we bring excerpts from interviews and presentations of participants to these events.
Kekenovski: This is the last chance to exist as a legal state!
Professor Jove Kekenovski is recently a part of the “Forum of freethinking patriots” often express his disagreement with the current governance structure of his party VMRO-DPMNE. He says it is good that an agreement was reached on June 2 for early elections in April next year, but believes that more attention should be paid to reforms than to the elections themselves.
“Reforms now seem to be of secondary importance and are somehow put aside. Reforms are not viewed in direction of how they should be managed and implemented during this period, but who will win the election – that one will continue with the implementation of reforms. We need to restart the system, because it does not function properly, and elections should crown the reformed system”, said Kekenovski.
He added that this is the last chance for Macedonia, “If we want to exist as a legal state, we have to tackle occurrence of such abnormal phenomena and practices”.
“Why do we have elections unless we deal with the disease? Do we want the patient to get well temporarily and when the elections are over the patient will be back on his knees?” – said Kekenovski.
He emphasized the need to clean up the Voters List, having in mind that it is a public secret that the number of voters is identical to the number of inhabitants in the country including children and minors! Therefore, we should first have a census, then to organize fair and democratic elections. Kekenovski stressed that the parties should stop interfering with the State Election Commission and the civil society should have more power, because at this point, civil society activists play a crucial role to strengthen the democratic process.
(Public discussion “Macedonia needs genuine democratic reforms” organized by Civil – Center for Freedom, June 23, 2015, GEM Club, Skopje)
Pendarovski: Pribe’s report should not be just dead letters on paper!
Professor Stevo Pendarovski, who is a supporter of the opposition, states that the political situation is very bad. He explained the report of the former chairperson of the European Comission, Reinhard Priebe, and the head of the senior expert group appointed by the EC, according to which if the recommendations and suggestions are not implemented in practice, there will only be cosmetic normative changes that will please Brussels.
“Priebe’s report is the sharpest one ever, and it will be turned into dead letters on paper if we do not find people to implement that.” – said Pendarovski.
“This is not the worst governing in the last 25 years because of bad laws. On the contrary, we have good laws and qualified people who know their job, but the political caste treats laws high-handedly, and sometimes also avoids them. Also, they pressure the employees within the institutions to work and make decisions selectively, most often in accordance to party membership”, said Pendarovski.
According to him, an example of how laws are violated is the case of Minister of Interior Affairs, Gordana Jankulovska, who was a minister and a candidate for a Member of Parliament at the same time, which is unacceptable. He also noted that the head of the Agency for Security and Counter Intelligence (ASCI) only formally resigned. Pendarovski also revealed that the opposition possesses strong evidence that wiretapping has continued.
Pendarovski stated that in the last 7-8 years, while the Commission for the Supervision of ASCI [also known as secret police] operated only formally, the head of the secret service has never provided an account for the work done.
Professor Pendarovski prompted the public quoting the experience of the Ombudsman with the secret police. “When the Ombudsman requested and answer from the secret police, they returned to him with a written response saying “don’t address us again for this kind of information”, said Pendarovski.
“You may win legitimately at elections, and get political legitimacy if the elections are fair and democratic, but you may not govern a country if you are a criminal! Hence the example of Croatia, where Sanader was highly corrupt, and although he won the elections and the political legitimacy, stepped back because of corruption. The same party continued to rule, but with another person that was not corrupt“.
(Public Discussion “Macedonia Needs True Democratic Reforms” organized by CIVIL – Center for Freedom, July, 2015)
Caca Nikolovska: Confidence in judiciary and prosecutors’ offices shattered
“The final question is: what is the perspective of Macedonia and could we possibly resolve the crisis? I think the majority of people are of the opinion that a resignation of the government is imminent! The Government has an obligation to resign, given the current situation, whether any responsibility is being determined or not. The issue of responsibility will be individual and will be channeled through relevant institutions. The ruling party should step aside to allow the one who will act in that position, to be transparent, credible and capable and do the work impartially and independently. Confidence in the judiciary, prosecution and the national authorities is utterly shattered. In a situation after resignation of the government, the question is what’s next? It is an expert government, indeed, where the term expert should absolutely be used and appreciated upon criteria that are not unknown! Criteria for an independent and impartial judiciary is not something that has yet to be invented”, said professor Margarita Caca Nikolovska, the former judge in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and (currently) judge in the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
(Public discussion “Crisis in Macedonia”, organized by the Civil – Center for Freedom, May 14, 2015)
Ordanoski: The internationals treat Gruevski as an illegitimate autocrat
“The resignations [of Interior Minister Jankulovska, Transport and Communications Janakieski and head of secret police Mijalkov] are not a result of Nikola Gruevski’s political readiness to show a sign of compromise. The resignations are a direct result of the pressure about which we don’t have sufficient knowledge, but which are linked to the operation in Kumanovo. Secondly, the fact that there must be an integral special report on the events in Kumanovo, which must not be set aside. Gruevski doesn’t like making compromises, he only makes moves under pressure. Do not nurture illusions that he is prepared to something else, which is shown by appointing Chavkov for Interior Minister, which is a direct breach of the Constitution. The argument that such cases took place in the past is not a valid and legal argument. Maybe there has been violation of the Constitution in the past, but what does that mean? That there have been robbers in the past, so now they can rob too? What kind of an argument is that? DUI [Democratic Union for Integration] and Gruevski agreed with this. There is no dilemma that this government led by Gruevski has to leave. Gruevski knows this too. Now, it is only a matter of time until that is negotiated.” – said Professor Sasho Ordanoski at the public discussion “Crisis in Macedonia”.
“The internationals are treating Gruevski as an illegitimate autocrat, and for them the period to be nice with him, as a legitimately elected figure, has ended. It’s all over now. The international community has no dilemma that this government led by Gruevski has to leave. I will say again, no minister or vice minister died in Kumanovo, but those that were sent over there with a badly thought-out strategies”.
“It is not a problem for 20 ministers to leave, and then, appointing persons who have expertise and qualifications to drive Macedonia towards more normal democratic times, so we can organize new elections. But, what will the Justice Minister do, for example, when all the layers in the ministry are so politicized that even the best person will be forced to resign on the third day? We have to show that we have had enough of naivety! I think that we will show that on the 17th of May.”
“Nikola Gruevski is not VMRO. If he leaves the party, VMRO-DPMNE will not cease existing, it will continue to exist, like it continued after Ljupco Georgievski. SDSM continued to exist after Branko Crvenkovski, Macedonia continued to function after Kiro Gligorov. I want to say that those are institutions that will continue to function, but first the bad ones have to leave”, said Ordanoski.
(Public discussion “Crisis in Macedonia” organized by CIVIL – Center for Freedom, May 14, 2015)
Ramadani: DUI continuously legitimizes illegality in Macedonia
“Kumanovo is a synonym for undivided Macedonia. We have passed the test with the armed conflict in Kumanovo. High officials from the government, as we learned of their link with the attackers under suspicious circumstances, have failed to ignite a hostility between the two largest ethnic groups, but also of the smaller ethnic communities”, said analyst Ramadan Ramadani at the public discussion “Crisis in Macedonia”.
“DUI continuously legitimizes illegality in Macedonia. That was shown on the 24th of December when DUI participated in the ousting of the opposition members of parliament and the journalists from the Parliament. It is also catastrophic that they participated in the election of the ombudsman on the 24th of December. Also, they participated in the voting of the national budget with only a few members of parliament.”
(Public discussion “Crisis in Macedonia”, organized by CIVIL – Center for Freedom, May 14, 2015)