The “season for parliamentary elections” in North Macedonia has ended on 15 of July. Although this election cycle was postponed from 12 of April because of the corona crisis, did not had a lack of dirty electoral campaign. On the contrary, it was labeled as the most dirtiest campaign ever. Now we have the old new government with the almost same political players and almost same empty promises. The old new structure of the new government is that the Social Democrat Union (SDSM) is again in political “bed” with the Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) like it was in the previous government 2017-2020. Again, like it’s always happening, the politicians have spit on their promises given during the election campaign in order to keep their businesses rolling.
During the campaign, the old new prime minister Zoran Zaev was loudly claiming that he will not form a governmental coalition with DUI who has been in the government since 2002 because it is time for this political party to go in opposition. Additionally, he was loud about this promise because the biggest promise from DUI to their electoral body is that they will have the first prime minister Albanian by nationality. This nationalistic rhetoric was not new by the Albanian politicians specially from DUI, but in the first moment it was seen as too much even from the rest of the Albanian parties. In a country that is deeply divided with nationalism, poverty, politicized and particized state institutions, the citizens want to see a professional and educated minister and prime minister, not appointed one because they belong to a certain ethnic group.
Election day or another fraud day?
However, the strongest intro into the new episode of the Macedonian never ending political crisis has happened on the election day. The 15 of July election day was Wednesday and it was again a result of the political negotiations between the opposition VMRO-DPMNE and governmental SDSM, because since the Macedonian independence, the elections were always held on Sunday and never on a working day. This compromise was between two big Macedonian parties (SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE) upon different reading and understanding on the legal conditions to organize elections after ending of the state of emergency regarding the situation with Covid-19.
On election day, the problem with the web site of the State Electoral Commission (SEC) had happened. In the afternoon, specially during the night when the official results were supposed to be announced, the web site was completely unavailable. This situation continued until the following day when the web site of the Commission was back online and the president of the Commission announced the results in the afternoon, almost 12 hours later than regular. The winner with the tight majority was the SDSM and their coalition “Mozeme” (We can) from 25 political parties with 46 MP, VMRO-DPMNE with 44 MP, DUI with 15 MP, DPA with 1. Here for the first time the only officially leftist political party Levica has won 2 seats in the Parliament. Although this political part program is left oriented, we have to mention that their campaign was strictly nationalistic, opposing the Prespa Agreement, the Ohrid agreement from 2001 and they have supported the candidate of the conservative VMRO-DPMNE in the presidential elections in 2019. But what the data on the web site of the Commission has shown is that in some voting places where there are no Albanians or where votes are usually low for DUI, this party has won the majority. This fact has raised eyebrows and reactions in the public while the Agency for protection of the personal data has entered into the SEC and confirmed that the personal data of the citizens was not stored properly and by the law. Unfortunately, this confirmation did not have an effect on the official result of the elections and the political negotiations in a form of affectation like a young bride by the political parties, has begun again. The negotiations were pulled until the end of the dead line, 20 days after the end of the elections and on the end Macedonian citizens have the new government, SDSM together with the Albanian DUI. The loud claim that he will not make a coalition with DUI, Zaev has again forgotten like an empty promise given during the passionate electoral campaign.
Governmental coalition that reminds of Lebanon
The governmental coalition between SDSM and DUI looks again like a monster with many heads of creation out of a weird sense of humour of Mother Nature. They have shared the ministries like they are sharing a bag of potatoes. Maybe the only positive outcome of this sharing of the political wedding cake is that the number of ministries is decreased from 26 to 17. The prime minister will be Zoran Zaev again, but the DUI were good in bargaining so they will have 5 ministries and Albanian as prime minister in the last 100 days of the government before organizing the new elections. Also, DUI has a position in the government named first vice prime minister or deputy prime minister. On this position is Artan Grubi, close collaborator of the leader of DUI, Ali Ahmeti and well known as person who’s job is to give nationalistic statements without any professional qualifications for the position that he is appointed on. But this position of first deputy prime minister pointed questions and critics in the public. Is Grubi going to be a co-prime minister or he is going to be a deputy? Is Zaev prime minister or does he have somebody to lead the government together? This model of consensual democracy which is installed in the Macedonian system only for questions that are penetrating into the matter of the minorities is clearly abused within the political interest of DUI. Until today the prime minister Zaev did not give an explanation of what kind of position is this first deputy prime minister and how he plans to govern the state. Even Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has published an analysis of the new government with a headline “Multiethnic robbery” with mentioning that this sharing of the power and government in Macedonia reminds of the situation in Lebanon. While we still do not clearly know what kind of “head” the government will have, the rest of the ministries from the Social Democrats are just rotations from one ministry to another with small cosmetic changes.
Nobody had courage to ask what really happened on the election days, how DUI has won places where there are no Albanians living or places where there are no citizens to vote because of strong migration. The whole impression from the last parliamentary elections is that all political parties who are in the Parliament wanted power so much that they did not have a problem with a new election fraud.
New price of electricity, one bank less
Immediately after the elections, the Regulatory Commission for energy increased the price of the electricity for 7.4%. This decision which came in a period when the state did not have a new government has provoked new protests in 4 cities and it comes against the law. The representative of the Commission was justifying the decision because of the corona crisis and loss of profit of the companies like ELEM (Elektrani Makedonija) and MEPSO (company for transport of electricity). The bad profit calculations of the electricity companies was once again a stronger reason than the interest of the citizens. Unfortunately, the prime minister Zaev has confirmed that the government will not react to this change of the price. For Zaev it was not important that the Macedonians pay the highest price for electricity in Europe, 6% from the average salary and on that list only Romanians pay more than Macedonians.
A shocking close of a bank has contributed to the situation in Macedonia to be more “interesting”. The National Bank of Macedonia has issued a decision to close the private Eurostandard bank, because of issuing so called “bad credits” and continuously reporting loss in the work. This shock for 780 families who lost their money, was upgraded together with a scandal that now former minister of finance from the government of Social Democrats, Nina Angelovska, one month before closing of the bank have withdraw large amount of money (252.000 euros) from her account and transferred the sum to another bank. The State Anti Corruption Commission have started an investigation for conflict of interest because she as a minister of finance had access to sensitive information like the incoming collapse of a bank. Unfortunately, the Public Prosecutors office has announced that they will not open an investigation against her although the ex Governor of the National Bank, Petar Goshev has explained that she as a minister of finance had access to the information regarding the situation of the banking system in the state.
Although the Macedonian citizens have a new government, the beginning is not so shiny at all. With increasing the price of the electricity, not even thinking to start an investigation against the former minister of finance, tolerating the corruption in all levels of society, the government will have to put an extra effort first to solve already existing problems and after to fulfill the shiny promises.
By Sonja Stojadinovic