Todays Date
November 19, 2018

The rustling of the people and the hardness of hearing of the government

Will the current political establishment wake up or will it, too, as an unwanted continuity of the unique Macedonian political matrix, confirm the impression of the people that – they are all the same? 

 

By: Zoran Ivanov

 

The Prespa Agreement will not grant amnesty to the pre-election promises

The ruling parties escaped early elections that were certain if there was not an overnight gathering of 80 votes “in favour” in the Parliament in order to begin the constitutional procedures. Considering the general mood of the citizens, due to different motives, primarily economic and social, and not as with the referendum, of political and emotional nature, eventual early elections were very likely to be met with great disappointment. With low turnout and with great abstinence. The government is so elated by the agreement with the southern neighbour, and by its implementation, that it seems, although very risky for its confidence, that it has put everything at stake. Or, unlike the previous one, which made a mountain out of a molehill, it does not have enough knack for affirming the results of its work.

In an ambience of great hope, the elections ended a year and a half ago. The citizens were expecting and remained silent for a month, two, three, seven, eight, nine, a year. But the civil, (so far only) disapproval of the unfulfilled, especially in the economy, the social affairs, the living standard, becomes a roar that is trembling. The society mutters, rustles, murmurs about wages, poverty, the costliness of the utilities, the enforcement agents, the growing social differences in its social state.

In the shadow of the one-and-a-half year long intensive preoccupation with the negotiating mission to resolve the dispute with its southern neighbour and its daily battles to translate the name dispute settlement into final implementation, the citizens seem to abandon their expectations regarding the unsolved existential issues. These are topics that in the annual negotiating period exasperated their patience. However, the government seems not to see nor hear the more pronounced civil discontent. Or it he sees it and sweeps it under the carpet. Or, in the name of the current “higher goals”, it ignores them intensely.

In the meantime, in this year and a half, even if there were certain significant government results contained in the party programs and promised in the pre-election period, their echo is weak, unremarkable. Seen more objectively, there are results and they are undeniable, especially in the area of social transfers for the most vulnerable, in the salaries of textiles and leather goods workers, some results in the investments, and some more, for marketing purposes, both by reducing the amount of travel expenses of the MPs or government officials’ representation costs and so on.

At the same time, the more numerous and more visible indications of fixed tenders, public procurement monopolies, clientelistic services, party employments in all segments of the institutions, both at the state and municipal level, are worrying. We are waiting for promises of putting in order of the illegal landfills, of concrete clean-air endeavours, for ending the urban rampage. A number of smaller and bigger affairs, mostly through party privileges, are becoming more visible. On the public stage, there is an emergence of familiar characteristic features, of corruptive and clientelistic manners of the faithful staff of the headquarters. There are the examples of the Innovation Fund, the drug tenders, conflicts of interest regarding large businesses of senior officials and similar to them at the central level, as well as various family tenders at the local level. The public only hears, sees, murmurs about and disapproves of these indicators on the social networks, for now. The government does not react, it remains inert and slowly but inevitably loses contact with people, with the real life reality. The impression is that for them, though inevitable, the only and top-dominant topic is the important state integration issue. A topic that does not touch the day-to-day existential needs of people, but which seems to be a welcome alibi for the promised complex obligations of the electoral programs.

Corruption eroded the Gruevski’s VMRO-DPMNE from within. The corrupt moth now moves into the ranks of the Zaev’s SDSM. For the time being, it is insufficiently visible due to the overwhelming noise and the occupation of the media and the general public with the Prespa Agreement, the constitution and the current collapse of the party competition. So now the question is whether and when the government will turn around to see people’s discontent and to see how and to what extent the new small and bigger corrupt phenomena will continue to erode the Macedonian social fabric through monopolized institutions. To speak up more clearly and to say how long it will take this waiting for a noticeable higher standard and at least a little more relaxed social life.

Its comfort or the preoccupation with one main topic, either way, now practically even without opposition, is apparent. The day when, soon, global issues such as the one with the agreement and the constitution will be closed, and when the doors for the integration will be opened up, when under the pressure of the Union it will face the forgotten reform obligations and the unfulfilled Pribe directions, then the current government’s complaints about the time missed will be worthless. For the bitter facing of the unfinished and the fact that it will be too late to seek new trust.

In addition, the feeling of a betrayed colourful revolution, a prolonged practice of selective justice, of a division of chosen and ordinary ones is spreading among the citizens. It is the pulse of our widest layer of citizens, quiet and provident.

These are people, men, women, children that the government, once is stays too long, seems to not have much time for. It seems as if the whole government and all its institutions are harnessed into the Macedonian-Greek negotiations, in chasing the parliamentary majority, in writing constitutional amendments, in gossiping about the situation in the opposition.

But those are the same our fellow citizens who silently but surely enthrone. But those are also the same ones who silently but surely tear down power.

Will the current political establishment wake up or will it, too, as an unwanted continuity of the unique Macedonian political matrix, confirm the impression of the people that – they are all the same?

 

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