The desire for order, work and discipline (!) Is the most reformist idea that is valued here, although it is difficult to implement with higher levels of long intra-party debates, while tolerating and (not) reconciling differences. On the contrary, the prevailing view is that party clientelism is a more effective line of “unification” than democracy.
From the first parliamentary elections, held in 1990, VMRO-DPMNE had only three party presidents – Georgievski, Gruevski and the now re-elected Mickoski. In those 31 years, SDSM changed twice as many leaders, starting with Petar Goshev (when the party was still led as SKM-PDP), then Crvenkovski, Buckovski, Sekerinska, Zaev and now the newly elected Kovacevski. In the past three decades, there have been only two significant party splits in SDSM (that of Petar Goshev in the distant 1993 with the formation of the Democratic Party; and that of Tito Petkovski in 2005, when he founded the NSDP). In VMRO, on the other hand, it is difficult to heal all the factions that came out of the party register and founded their united-divided, popular, democratic, original, new, old, right and the oldest-newest party “plywood”.
Given that in thirty years both SDSM and VMRO, cumulatively, individually ruled the country for fifteen years, it could, albeit generally, the above-described intra-party dynamics and democratic capacity in both parties be analyzed and how much diversity was tolerated. to the opinions of the party leaders, and even the sense of responsibility, not when winning, but when losing in politics. There is no doubt that, no matter how you turn the argument, SDSM has always been a party with greater democratic capacity (although far from ideal), while in VMRO-DPMNE the position of the president was perceived as party law, and everything else as a “betrayal” that inevitably led to saying goodbye (albeit temporarily) to the party. Those farewells were known to be accompanied by the threat of armed escort.
This intra-party tradition continues today. In SDSM, the intra-party democratic model (as a reminder, the Zaev / Sekerinska tandem also won the party elections in the race with Jovanovski / Naumov in 2013) has improved significantly in the last year, with the decision to elect the party president in direct, general elections. intra-party elections. Three candidates for the leadership post competed at the just-concluded Extraordinary Electoral Congress.
At the same time, 490 delegates at the party congress of VMRO-DPMNE, without a vote against (although with as many as two invalid ballots and one who did not vote – Mickoski himself!) Re-elected the only candidate Hristijan Mickoski in a new presidential term, this time as the winner in the last local elections in the country, but also with the largest parliamentary group in the Assembly.
The simple conclusion from this factual comparison could be that in Macedonia the level of intra-party democracy has no direct relation to the success of the parties in their inter-party election race. If we analyze the situation in other parties in the country, that conclusion could only be further argued. Whatever the level of debate and democratic diversity in the parties, the one who has the party seal in the safe won (or lost), no matter how the key to that safe was won. Maybe also because in party safes, usually, only the party seal is not kept.
What does this say about the political consciousness in the society?
Well, what we have been reading for decades through occasional sociological research: not only the party public, but also most of the non-partisan, civil society is indifferent to the level of democracy practiced in the parties and in society. Here the majority prefers stability of governing structures, predictability of policies both inside and outside the parties, even if the same leaders have ruled for decades (like Ali Ahmeti, for example). Ideas of modernizing parties / societies often lose elections, and progressive, reform-minded leaders – and rarely do they appear – generally have short and infamous careers.
In fact, the desire for order, work and discipline (and “rolled up sleeves”!) Is the most reformist idea valued here, although it is difficult to implement with higher levels of lengthy intra-party debates, tolerating and (not) reconciling differences. On the contrary, the prevailing view is that party clientelism is a more effective line of “unification” than democracy. Everyone grumbles about the “evil of corruption and nepotism”, but almost no one refuses to practice them if they can do something for themselves.
Therefore, even those who start as party reformers, soon understand and “internalize” those messages, in order to stabilize it, and then strengthen it – “unite”! – his rule.
Mickoski spent four years stifling any attempt at a democratic debate within his party, thus ensuring the monolithic nature of his current party presidential election. Now, he calls on the whole society to such “unity” in order to win power in the most urgent early parliamentary elections.
But also in SDSM, with the three candidates in the presidential party race, the sentiment for intra-party unification and consensus was one of the main election messages. There, Kovacevski’s winning formula for convincing success also meant “reconciling” the Brankovist with the Zaevist currents, to warn of the possibility – albeit, in a democratic race with multiple candidates – when two are arguing, a third would profit victoriously.
Unification, everywhere and always, is a political leitmotif when the party / society is in crisis. Here, thanks for the question, for thirty years. In essence, it symbolizes the desire to preserve (or restore) stability and the status quo in the party and society, because even a bad reality is better than an uncertain future in which change brings winners and losers in the process. Because when we are united, we all win and when we lose.
Long live the unifiers!