It’s really easy to criticize every government structure on the Balkans, and even much wider. If you can’t find anything else on them, then you can get caught up on gender imbalance. And of course, one has to be very naïve to find just one remark on any government in the world.
The government is always to blame
The government is here to be criticized and to be blamed, even when it’s not their fault, isn’t it so? Unless the head of the state is an autocrat from along the ranks of Orban, Putin, Vucic…
Lately, autocrats have multiplied across Europe, and somehow are overshadowing the Macedonian “Der Kleine Diktator“, as Neue Zürcher Zeitung called Gruevski in 2014.
But Gruevski is already the past. Let’s take a look briefly, diagonally, at the new government, third in a row after the fall of the regime five years ago.
Numbers, letters and male dominance
Kovacevski’s government cabinet is continuing the “good” old tradition of almost absolute male dominance in the government. The government, together with the Prime Minister, has 21 members. Only four are women. The Prime Minister and nine ministers, or less than half come from along the lines of SDSM, a representative of the academic community has taken over the Ministry of justice, but at the proposal of SDSM. DUI has six ministerial positions, including the first deputy prime minister. Three ministers come from the new coalition partner Alternativa, and one from LDP.
In addition to the Prime Minister, there are as many as eight new ministers, and three ministers are moving to new positions in the government, that is, just over half of the government is new. If we stay on the topic of gender (im)balance just a bit more, we will see that out of four deputy prime minister positions, only one belongs to a woman.
The government structure is robust, numerous, just like all others until now. There are several explanations and justifications for the numerous ministerial positions in the Macedonian government cabinets, but most of them are naïve. There are many problems, many people are needed to solve them… The composition of the state is complex, many departments are needed for solving all issues of various aspects…
In other words, every coalition partner seeks a place more in the government structure, which then has an impact on the election and appointment of deputies and assistant positions, state secretaries, advisors, positions on boards of directors, directors and deputies of state and public enterprises, institutions, agencies…
How is it in the world and in the region?
The Swiss government (Federal Council) has seven ministers. The Swiss Confederation is composed of four constituent peoples and has a high percentage of ethnic communities who have been living and working for generations in this country.
On the other hand, just so it doesn’t turn out that the Macedonian government is an exception, the Canadian government cabinet currently has 35 members, 17 men and 18 women.
The German government, however, has a more modest size and has 15 ministerial positions, in addition to the position of the Chancellor. In the new German government, seven are women, just a little less than half.
Sweden has a bigger government cabinet that the Macedonian one – 22 ministerial positions, of which 11 belong to women, plus the Prime Minister.
Kosovo has exactly one third women in the 18-member government.
The Czechs are worse than us in terms of gender representation, only with a slightly smaller government. The Prime Minister is accompanied by 17 ministers, of which only three are women.
The Serbian government is led by a woman, accompanied by five deputy prime ministerial positions, 21 ministers and two ministers without portfolios. Together with the Prime Minister, the Serbian government has 29 seats, of which 13 belong to women.
The Albanian government can serve as an example in global frameworks. The government, together with the Prime Minister, has 17 members, of which 12 women and 5 men.
Feminism in Sweden
It’s not just North Macedonia, much less just the Balkans, where men dominate politics. On Wikipedia, on the topic of Feminism in Sweden, we can find information that in 2017 women were the head of only 17 countries (currently there are 193 UN member states).
In 31 peace processes in the world in the period 1992-2011, only 9% of negotiators were women. Of those who have signed peace agreements, as much as 96% are men.
One hundred days? What was that?
Back to, pardon, forward to North Macedonia! Except in parliament, where it’s somewhat better, but far from fair gender representation (73 men and 47 women), in all other positions there is total male dominance. Out of 81 mayors in our country, after the local elections in October 2021, only two are women. We used to say that gender representation in the previous term of the local authorities was a disaster, but then there were “even” five. Which means it can always be worse.
Nevertheless, there are a huge number of challenges ahead of Kovacevski’s government, both externally and internally. Zoran Zaev paved most of the way. He said he would start working immediately (and when else?), on the first day (January 17). Usually, the first 100 days are given to a prime minister and to his cabinet to show what and how much they can do. But Kovacevski, just like Zaev before him, will not get those 100 days.
Kovacevski has no easy task
In the Macedonian case, with VMRO-DPMNE being in opposition for five years and drunken with the success of the local elections, Kovacevski has no easy task. Even before he became a prime minister, he was a target of fierce black propaganda from the moment his name spread in the public. The opposition is denying his legitimacy. And this comes exactly from those who are carriers of legitimacy – MPs. And – that’s nothing. The pandemic, economic, political, energy, environmental and security challenges are already moving with difficult steps in the everyday lives of people. And before he faces those challenges, there are national strategic interests before him – to maintain the Euro-Atlantic course outward.
Internally, Kovacevski and his government are expected to dedicate much effort, time, willingness and capacity for protection and promotion of democracy, human rights, gender equality and the strategy “One Society for All” …
Welcome to the new chapter of the “Die Hard” series!
Translation: N. Cvetkovska