This is one big circus tent where a bad show is taking place and where the audience has mixed up with the actors, acrobats, trained animals and illusionists. Part of the crowd under the suffocating tent is dissatisfied with the performance, and is asking to have its money returned for the ticket, even though in the meanwhile it has become the main protagonist during the show. The arena is like a big field toilet on which all kinds of creatures have piled up, intertwined and stuck with each other, along with the public. Screams can be heard and stench is spread from the evaporation of various human-like creatures and animals…
This literary beginning is just an expression and personal perception, without the intention of insulting (too much), and is certainly with a good intention. Let’s continue now, with a short analyses of the situation in the election context and the events (consequences) immediately after.
When they have fallen to zero, without knowledge and understanding of the political processes and of how democratic institutions function, the space for manipulating the masses is unlimited. The Macedonian society is polarized to the extreme, based on how much one understands it, and even more how much it experiences/perceives the events in politics.
Our society is pitiful. It’s amazing how people with academic titles, and even involved in politics, through deceiving political structures, are politically and media illiterate. They don’t know how to read a text, let alone form a thought. The comments on the social media are illiterate, evil, vulgar and stupid. Shameless.
Absence of nationalist rhetoric – only on the surface
Nationalism has been left out of the rhetoric of the bigger rightist political parties. This year will be remembered by the multi-ethnic pre-election coalition between VMRO-DPMNE and the Alliance for Albanians and Alternativa. Still, the ethnic hate speech remained strongly present in the public communication, especially on the social networks. Analyses show that hate speech on ethic grounds comes from the same party structures and networks as before.
In other words, only the surface is seemingly calm and civilized. These notorious nationalists didn’t even have the intention of working with their membership to truly abandon the nationalist rhetoric and hate speech. Why? Because they haven’t decided to change, only to enter the political competition with already proven antinationalist practices that were introduced by the coalition partners led by SDSM and Zoran Zaev. Their council members are good, no question. But the entire game is obvious and shallow, one who knows the Macedonian conditions at least a little, knows.
Arriving to an election victory with a dirty campaign, threats, hatred and fake media balance
The local elections have lost their meaning long ago, with the persistent insisting of nationalist political parties in the opposition to impose a national agenda and topics in the campaign. The campaign was led as if it were for parliamentary elections or for a referendum on the name and for reconsideration of the Euro-Atlantic strategic commitment of the country.
At the same time, the campaign was extremely dirty and full of disinformation, insulting speech and calls for violence. The media, as usual, continued with their casual attitude towards the facts and values, and only “balanced” between the “warring parties” in the election race, like administrators of advertising billboards.
What we saw in the last two days of the campaign and during the election silence is clear illustration of the behavior of the radical opposition during the entire election process. They have made a “collection of stickers” with a series of crimes in which senior party officials and leaders took part in an unhidden manner, “riding” on Zoran Zaev’s endless lenience and tolerance, but also on the impunity that the radicals have been enjoying for a long time now.
Nothing was enough to dump the whole political waste in the public, and so there were also open threats in the media and on the social networks. The public witnessed (and remained deaf) to an attitude that brought back bad memories of the violence of the time of the regime, such as the terror of April 27, 2017 and the campaign during the Referendum of 2018.
The unpleasant scenes that even the very president of VMRO-DPMNE, Hristijan Mickoski caused, who was threatening the people of Kocani and his media-propaganda entourage, the threats of killing (the editor of Infomax) and many other incidents, leave an ugly image of the political entities who fought for power, not choosing the means. According to CIVIL, this is one of the reasons for the low voter turnout.
Culmination: Zaev resigns
The culmination of the election process was the express resignation of Zoran Zaev from the position of Prime Minister and party leader, which stirred reactions inside and outside the country. The political leaders of all coalition partners unanimously demanded from him to withdraw his resignation due to many reasons.
The arguments, primarily, are in that it is about local and not parliamentary elections. Furthermore, strong arguments are that the parliamentary majority is stable and that it is necessary to continue with the European integration processes.
The hundreds of demands of intellectuals, professors and prominent members of progressive political parties in the country go in asimilar direction. Such was also the column “Thank you for the resignation, it is not accepted!”.
Through local elections – rush to central government
The local elections were an excellent opportunity, after a series of difficult political and election defeats of VMRO-DPMNE, to carry out a campaign in order to rush to the central government. They couldn’t have done it alone, so that is why they resorted to all positive practices, which, with many difficulties and huge compromises, introduced the progressive political entities in the country.
Like always, so in the campaign for the local elections, they “borrowed” the vocabulary and image of the progressive civil society organizations and of the Colorful revolution and took over (just formally, for in front of cameras) also the political “precedents” that were made by Zoran Zaev in the past several years.
(The singing of “Bella Ciao” in front of the lavishing headquarters of VMRO-DPMNE will be remembered as a grotesque with epic proportions).
A winning combination: a black campaign, “borrowed” messages and formal (temporary) abandoning of the nationalist rhetoric and taking advantage of the weaknesses of the institutions and the government, enjoying the fruits of the long years of hybrid attacks on the country – a recipe for a solid political victory.
Strange coalitions: The Albanians to the rescue
VMRO-DPMNE, aware that they cannot make it alone, called to the rescue, imagine, the Albanians. And not just anyone, but those whose leader almost killed their supporters in the terrorist attack on the Parliament on April 27, 2017.
Without apologies, nonetheless.
These, on the other hand, obediently accepted the offer and did their part. This coalition will remain one of the strangest in Macedonian politics.
A defeat is a defeat
The local elections were (mis)used in order to shake up the central government led by Zoran Zaev. Literally, every lever of power and influence was used, every pawn of the opposition and foreign influence in the system and every chance to discredit – to arrive to this result.
And the results were achieved, which were enough for SDSM to lose in the local elections. The analysis of numbers show that it is more about the defeat of SDSM than the victory of VMRO-DPMNE. But that’s no consolation – a defeat is a defeat.
North Macedonia is a target of hybrid attacks, black money in the campaign
Several important points arise from the address of the Prime Minister and leader of the Social Democrats, who showed high responsibility (according to many, even inappropriate) and statesmen attitude. But one point just doesn’t seem to find itself on the “agenda” of analyses and institutional action.
“It is my duty to comment that in these elections a lot of money were visible on the ground with the opposition, having come mostly from abroad, and given for political, but also for economic reasons. And part of the big money they received also from domestic businessmen, above all, bosses of construction companies, for future personal financial interests and plans. I regret that all this money is a significant reason for such an election result” – said the Prime Minister who resigned.
The statement of Zoran Zaev is a recognition, more specifically, another confirmation of the numerous reports, analyses and recommendations of CIVIL, both in the past four years and in the height of the election process. Finally, we have received almost direct recognition and confirmation of the highest level, that the Macedonian society, institutions and the state are entirely a “subject of processing” by the political and criminal centers of political and financial power.More specifically, North Macedonia has been a target of hybrid attacks for years.
Indications of large amounts of black money on the ground were also given in police bulletins during the election process. In addition, CIVIL’s field observers gave a clear picture about the intense pressure on voters and on a violent and extremely black campaign on a large scale. Which is not free and cannot be carried out with lawful money and lawful means.
Actually, such campaigns are nothing new in the Macedonian political and social space. The consequences that the society and state suffered and still suffer after the 11 years of Gruevski’s rule are visible, but also from the hybrid attacks on all national and strategic commitments of the state after his fall.
The raid for overthrowing Zoran Zaev succeeded, nextis the government
The criminal clique of the regime quickly got over the blows that were brought by the “bombs” in 20 years and after the post-election rearrangement in 2016 and the beginning of 2017 when the Bloody Thursday took place on April 27. The result of the fight against the progressive and pro-Western forces in the country, after many difficult failures and defeats, finally, VMRO-DPMNE achieved with the victory in the local elections. Just how many millions of black money have been poured into that long and complex operation, we will probably never find out, but there’s no doubt that it concerns a lot of money. And probably, in the greater part it is money of the Macedonian citizens.
Theraid for overthrowing Zoran Zaev, for now, has given the expected results. Next is the government, and them comes turning the country’s course.
Scandalous data about inflow of money from Hungary, institutions silent
„Sloboden Pecat“ published scandalous data on inflow of money from Hungary in newly-opened marketing agencies in the country.
“A coincidence or not, but the controversial advertising agency “Atmedia” from Hungary opened its own offices in North Macedonia and in Serbia right before the announcement of opposition party VMRO-DPMNE that Danela Arsovska, who is also the Honorary Consul of Hungaryin the country, would run for the top position in the capital” – wrote Sloboden Pecat three days ago before the voting in the second round.
This knowledge was not enough of a signal to initiate the institutions, just as a series of other scandalous data on political and media financing in the past several years “didn’t deserve” the attention of the institutions to deal with the financial and other types of crime. Not to mention the “dying” and other “five-hundred-euro-for-panties” court “conclusions”.
What does all this mean?
Even though the overallelection process, politically wise, can be assessed as another one in the series of free, fair and democratic ones, inevitable are the questions as to how such an amount of black money “flowed” throughout the country. By revealing the fact that there were huge amounts of black money in the campaign and the facts that come from the field monitoring, the demands for the institutions to say whether they had knowledge about the crime related to the political financing us inevitable. If they had knowledge, they need to answer why they were not prevented. If they hadn’t had knowledge, even more important is the answer to the question about the capacities, and especially the competencies.
And this is not the end to this malicious dubiousness. The security of the state could very will be questioned if its structure is like Swiss cheese and if anyone from the inside or outside can fund operations for tectonic political shifts. Tomorrow it could also be an operation to change the national strategic commitments (from a NATO country to turn towards the East, for example) or even for territorial reshuffling in the country, which certainly would have regional implications as well.
It’s worth to at least think about all this, since a political and institutional response is already lacking.
Translation: N. Cvetkovska