Todays Date
July 11, 2020

At work on Ilindenska street or in exhile on Vodno

The question is not what with Zoran Zaev as the head of the state, but what with the government without Zoran Zaev

Written by: Zoran Ivanov


“I am not going to run for president and I am closing the topic here”, answered Zoran Zaev this week to a question asked by a journalist and….

In recent public testing regarding who in spring is wished for a new president of the country, the majority of respondents chose incumbent Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. The mere fact that in company of another fifteen he is listed as a candidate is a symptom that the Prime Minister may still intend to move out of Ilindenska bb. This, as well as the rapid reaction of his confirmed analyst supporters columnists to recommend catapulting that function, point to a serious dose of authenticity for such an assumption.

Things in politics are rapidly turning around, changing for various reasons, motives, and circumstances. Not long ago, and, of course, most on his merit, the people elected him through hard battles and as a hope. As a leader for change, for reform, for life for all. But, according to the overall impression, so far, he has mainly put everything on one, two political cards. The law on languages, agreements with the eastern and southern neighbor, the constitution and the NATO membership.

During this time, despite citizens’ impatience, his narrower and wider government team have not delivered the expected results. Priebe is almost no longer mentioned. The arguments, however, that the state is still blocked by the previous regime, are becoming more obnoxious, and the criticism is more numerous and louder. Influential fighters from the processes of change, intellectuals, analysts, civic activists, citizens notice, object, grumble about the failures. About the inertia, failure, stagnation, unrealized promises. But also about partisanism, nepotism, clientelism, corruption.

The people have elected Zoran Zaev. He does not seem to have chosen his own good team and it affects his success. He chases the integration, they are chasing privileges. The public reacts to big deals and especially rumors about the small blurry actions of the third-line cadres. Placed across many services, public enterprises, agencies, funds and all other state institutions, they seem to be out of government controls. Many of them, with or without his knowledge, the public will especially want to hear it, act as if they were at home. They win big and small tenders, big and small projects, big and small grants, big and small per diems. They are packing representation trips, parties, meetings. They employ, promote, and share bonuses, awards and prizes. So, without control, with their actions they lead their benefactor to his inevitable defeat as PM.

And he, for reasons only he understands, persistently keeps the bad and the incompetent and those with visible corruptive, nepotistic and clientelistic manners. And after a year and a half he leaves them in places where it is clearly seen they are no good, that they sneak and enjoy privileges without delivering the expected changes. And especially that they abuse both him and his trust and inflict enormous political damage.

It is not possible for the Prime Minister not to see these civic impressions and not to notice their day-to-day reactions. And hence, probably due to the rush of tones of discontent, there are indications that signal his eventual intentions to move to a safer, more comfortable function. The fact is that he has done so much so far. Some things even unexpectedly a lot in an extremely complex social and political setting.

Is the hero tired of the new Macedonian spring? Is he afraid of the inability to cope with the larger and the smallest mafia, the incurable corrupt metastasis? The answer will surely be known in a month, two. But can these phenomena be the cause of the dilemma him or them? Has he, not being able to deal with Them, decided for Him. Is he already giving up on us and preparing himself to run from the PM for president, from the hot and always guilty Ilindenska bb to the peaceful residence of Vodno, is now the most current question from the public to him?

Zoran Zaev has shown rarely seen courage. The bombs that broke up the regime could and still can explode in his chest. He has shown he is a democrat and a cosmopolitan. A man who manifests kindness and understanding for everyone. A character who equally knows how to deal with both the supporters and the opponents. A person who, if given more powerful arguments, is prepared without impunity and vanity to withdraw from his own convictions.

But the question here is not what with Zoran Zaev as the head of the state, but what with the government without Zoran Zaev. Who instead will report about the unrealized hopes? About the expectations when the citizens’ money returns, how to get to five hundred Euros average salary, with the law and the reforms in the judiciary, with such education and health. Who will handle and reform the cumbersome, excessive and too expensive administration. And how to continue with the abuses of public resources, corruption, clientelism, nepotism, and partisanism.

From the position of president of the country, the incumbent prime minister will not be able to do anything additional for the fulfillment of the proclaimed goals. Practically nothing about the hopes of citizens eager for a more dignified life, for true freedom and democracy, for justice and equality, for non-party, responsible and authoritative institutions.

Reactions of the fighters against the regime and six thousand citizens from the September referendum that accepted the challenge for the country’s integration perspectives are the noisier echo of the Macedonian democratic public. Will Zoran Zaev leave his colleagues and followers to the disfavor of the atrophied institutions, incompetent managers of many state-owned enterprises, agencies, funds and services without a previous general overhaul? Without carrying out a staff tsunami and without, as he promised, cutting deep reform cuts. And with such a desired action to create a political reaction for his political future. To create a new space for new personal challenges. Certainly, seen from our Macedonian angle, if the post of president of the country is still a challenge.

The time is short and will promptly indicate whether the incumbent prime minister will leave the leadership positions in the government and the party in order to become the fifth president of the Republic of Macedonia and the first president of the Republic of Northern Macedonia. In addition, in spite of his negation, only frequent and yet indicative suggestions are currently being addressed.

They say, especially in politics, never say never. Told and then untold is an axiom


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