All our unfortunate presidents
Writes: Denko Maleski
A journalist, Albanian, is reading to me the statement of the leader of DUI, Ahmeti, which, in regards to the presidential elections, is addressing to me. He is asking me about this. But, in the process of translation of my statement from Macedonian into Albanian and vice versa, my statement given for Plusinfo, did not looked like the way I talk, even though the one thing that I said, was correctly published: that I have understood the statement of Ahmeti, as a compliment, even though I do not know him personally, also that I express gratitude for the kind words and that I support the idea for consensual president and-that was about it.
What I said is not changing my opinion about the experiences with our presidential elections, for which I have written and spoken about at least a decade and a half. The British, Danish, Belgians, Norwegians, Japanese, Spanish, Canadians, Swedish or the Dutch, as well as many other people have constitutional monarchies as symbol of their unity. The Germans, Italians, Israelis, the Greeks, Estonians, Albanians, Armenians, Hungarians, Kosovars, Latvians and the Swiss, accomplish this unity through, sometimes, tough and long procedure of party voting in the parliament. The rest of the European states with parliamentarian systems such as Macedonia, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Check Republic, Finland, Iceland, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia are choosing their presidents on direct elections. These elected presidents symbolize the unity of the state in international relations. But, at home, these symbols depend from the democratic consciousness of those who have voted-against. So, parliamentary system is the dominant form of ruling in Europe, with presidents chosen in the parliaments by the representatives of the parties or on elections by the citizens.
The states choose the model that believe is most suitable for them. Has Macedonia chosen the most proper model, by electing the president on elections? The lessons from our twenty-seven years old experience say it all.
The model with election of the president by citizens in Macedonia only strengthens the polarization in the Macedonian society which does not have a point of unification even in the figure of the newly elected president. The parties that have lost, as well as their followers do not approve the defeat.
The presidential elections are just a round in the battle of the parties for supremacy. Actually, they are just continuation of the same battle whereas “all the means are allowed”, after which, the chosen president becomes heated for half of the people and unrecognized by the opposition. This is a rule, without exception.
Only in the time when Kiro Gligorov was appointed president in the first mandate, I noticed some respect by all towards the institution and the personality of the head of the state. But, during the second mandate, when president Gligorov participated in elections, he went out of these elections as a president of SDSM, unrecognized by VMRO-DPMNE. I leave aside the arguments of the opposition that the elections were forged and I stick only to the result: the state has got disputed president of a man, who, full of knowledge and intelligence, has successfully rescued Macedonia from the Jugoslav wars. I have the impression that even the assassination did not succeed to withdraw part of his lost reputation.
Then came Boris Trajkovski, the representative of VMRO-DPMNE, who has not been recognized by SDSM. I leave aside the arguments of the new opposition that the elections were forged and I stick only to the result: unrecognized by the opposition at the moment when he lost the support even of the party whose candidate he was the president became object for humiliation by both sides. After the tragic death, EU and USA have expressed deep condolences to the people in Macedonia and have sent a message to the parties at war to choose president who will unite them. Macedonian politicians, approved this message, but have done the opposite: they chose the leader of the ruling party for president of the state.
Driven by the eternal rule in politics that everything that can be controlled, should be controlled, Branko Crvenkovski, prime minister at that time, has become president, keeping at the same time the prime minister seat for his party-SDSM. I leave aside the arguments of the new opposition that the elections were forged and I stick only to the result: Macedonia has won disputed president who was ugly nicknamed as “person B.C.”. Losing control over his own party, later on he found himself in position slightly similar to one of his predecessor.
Then came Gorge Ivanov… I leave aside the arguments of the new opposition that the elections were forged and I stick only to the result: Macedonia has won cruelly disputed president, unrecognized by the opposition and the parties of the second largest ethnic minority. He, misinterpreted his constitutional position and trying to stuck the open democratic process of change in the state policies during the change of the parties at power, he proclaimed the suspensive veto over the decisions in the Parliament for eternal. So, today this unfortunate president is facing with criminal responsibility.
So, now, who’s turn is it?
The world media will announce upcoming presidential elections in the small state at the Balkans, Macedonia, which, in no way, can accomplish its own strategic goals proclaimed even at the beginning of its’ independence, the EU and NATO membership. Few know that this is due to the fact that in one extremely polarized society, presidential elections create additional polarization and inequality. So, the political system of our society has a lack of even one point of unification. Therefore, the idea for consensual president is virtuous. But, it can be easily refused by “the system” based on fearful political polarization that produce parties which are incapable to produce any kind of consensus through dialog. So, at the upcoming elections, “the system” that polarizes parties around the institution, (which in other countries unites), guarantees that the outcome of the duel between “patriots” and “traitors” will be the same as above: election of another unfortunate president. Namely, it can be foreseen that if the announced boycott fails, the election result will be disputed because of electoral lists or something else.
We are ahead of fearful party separations towards the state interest which means that we should unite over the final accomplishment of long proclaimed strategic goals: NATO and EU. This today is possible only through realization of the Prespa agreement. Therefore, it is maybe the last moment that all parties should consider the other model: election of the president in the Parliament with two/thirds of majority with Badinter and everything else necessary. After that to talk for candidates. Because there is no point to repeat the old game that gives same bad results, which, in deep political crisis can be fatal for the state. Is this other model perfect? Not even close. All political models are projection of ourselves, our flaws and virtues as humans. But, at least such choice of president will produce something better: not only will it spare the people from unnecessary shocks, but it will not endanger the moral integrity of the candidate and will produce one, even formal, center of unity. Because without this moral integrity, the institution president in Macedonia, who nevertheless has no power-has nothing.
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