VIDEO ANALYSIS Ordanoski: Democracy is always a local issue
The pre-election campaign is coming to an end and now we can reflect on what was taking place in the past month. I think that the predictions did come true in that this pre-election campaign would be with a different content instead of with a classical form, if it concerned only local elections. It appears that these local elections will mean more than just choosing a mayor and municipal councils, and that they will greatly determine the fate of entire party structures, and especially of their leaderships.
Therefore, you should not be surprised that this pre-election campaign was filled with contents that resembled national, parliamentary elections much more than they did debates on sidewalks and roundabouts. However, Macedonia is in such a situation, again historically, probably as the past 27 tears, in which issues are being resolved in regards to the end of a major phase, a major phase in our democracy, when we are dealing with the remainders of an eleven-year regime. That is why I think that the stakes on the very day of the voting will be in the sense of a referendum. That means that the voting will be for or against two concepts that were also offered to us at the past parliamentary elections.
In that sense, it is disappointing to see that the campaign was not spared from filthiness. I think that this year, maybe for the first time, the use of hate speech, especially on the social media, went to a great extent. You can see it is no coincidence. You can see that the parties have completely understood the importance of the social media and the occupation they are carrying out in an organized, and I would say, even in an expensively paid manner. You can see that behind that traffic on the social networks are entire headquarters. That they are the main producers of that hate speech, which most definitely cannot be good neither for these elections, nor for the atmosphere that is further awaiting us. Macedonia is a divided society, and it is clear that we are coming out of a period of a strong and at times a filthy propaganda campaign that was being carried out by the previous regime. Expectations and rational needs for settling scores with opponents, even for a revengeful line of action do exist, and have also transferred to the election campaign. I believe that all the parties participate equally in this, the two major Macedonian parties, both SDSM and VMRO, which are also the main sides of the conflict in these elections.
The elections will be, I hope, peaceful on the day of the voting, while the turnout of the voters will be very important. The degree of the turnout of voters will also directly affect who the winner will be.
It will be quite interesting to see if this trend that started at the last parliamentary elections will continue, of an ethnic, Albanian support for the candidates of SDSM. If this trend does continue at these local elections, then we can say that we are entering a more stable phase of developing multi-ethnic options, party wise, which will not be tied solely to the ethnic background of the voters, but will be tied as a party offer to the entire electorate in the future.
We have seen VMRO’s effort to correct, I would say, its totally wrong, not only politically, but also pragmatically incorrect approach, to go with irrational slandering and practically a campaign of hatred towards the Albanian part of the citizens in Macedonia.
They are trying to correct this, but I do not think that this will happen at these elections. Still, there is a highly expressed level of awareness among the voters in terms of who is doing things sincerely and who is not.
In that sense, I expect for there to be a twist in the results of the local elections, especially when taking into consideration the results of the previous local elections. However, we need to wait and see what the extent of this will be, in exactly which municipalities, so that afterwards we can deal with an analysis of the winners and of those defeated at these elections. I think that in some municipalities, and in a greater part of them, the issue of the mayors will be resolved in the first round of elections. I think that the grouping and consolidating of the electorates are such that they will immediately express a quantum of political intention as early as the first round. And this ultimately is not bad, because, if nothing else, we will be spared from additional two weeks of campaigns.
In other words, I think that these local elections are a foreplay for the political future that is awaiting Macedonia in 2018, where we are awaiting major reform type tasks. Where we are awaiting to see what the referendum voting for the policies will be, even though very briefly, for several months presented by SDSM in the position of being in power. After that we will see whether the results of these elections and the agenda that is to follow afterwards, and I especially mean the turmoil that already exists in several Albanian parties, and also in VMRO-DPMNE, will provide opportunities to assume whether we will have extraordinary parliamentary elections in the foreseeable future.
In any case, I wish for all the citizens to fulfill their civic obligation, and according to their conscience and political beliefs to go and vote on Sunday, because we must not forget that democracy is always a local matter. Even when you are voting for national issues, it is good for you to know that you have voted for someone at the local level, ultimately, that is where your life is. It is there that you do what you do every day, and what reflects the way your life is spent.
Camera: Dehran Muratov
Transcript and equipment: Maja Ivanovska
Photo: Biljana Jordanovska