Todays Date
June 6, 2020

A view on the presidential election

Writes: Denko Maleski


The elections ended with the victory of the candidate of SDSM and DUI Stevo Pendarovski. The Macedonian people, however, showed that the magic of nationalism is no longer as before. In some past times, a candidate supporting a change of the name of the country would have gone catastrophic in elections. In that sense, we are ready to step towards the modern world. What was lacking in an electoral process organized according to European standards is such a European final. In accordance with the practice so far, the fate that followed all our unhappy presidents, there were no congratulations to the newly elected president and recognition of his legitimacy. On the contrary, the leader of the opposition party called the elections “a heavy falsification with electoral irregularities” and told “Zaev Zoran and Pendarovski Stevo” that “it is going to be hell from today”.

What hell? I recognize that this, among other things, is a threat that the topic of “Macedonian national humiliation” outside and at home is not closed and will continue to be used in politics in the next parliamentary elections.

It is easiest to play with the issue of national injustice and the name. The two Macedonian parties who were on the same side for thirty years know this: from one election to the other, they talked about the injustice done to the Macedonian people in one, as everyone was fond of saying “irrational dispute”. No one was aware of the words of the famous English historian of the eighteenth century Edward Gibbon, according to which the “irrational element” in history must always be taken into account for it (the history) to be understood at all. For, it is precisely this irrationality of the two nationalisms, the one who sees Macedonia as a purely Greek name and territory from long ago to the present and the second as a purely Macedonian divided homeland which has been taken away from us by the surrounding countries, and it has always been ours, that makes the decision hard. The fact that in the past decades the Macedonian parties did not put forth an effort for a different interpretation of the history that would bypass the nationalist confrontation in the direction of searching for a good compromise, had consequences on these presidential elections. Namely, the shock of the rapid solution, changing the name for internal use, too, also reflected on the increased votes for the nationalist candidate who were against the internationally sponsored agreement. Why? There is one rule in international relations that reads: the greater resistance to the pressure from the outside, the greater the applause at home. Domestic resistance to the great Western powers behind the Prespa Agreement raised its eyebrows to their politicians, but there were supporters in the country.

“Macedonian national humiliation” at home, according to the nationalists, can be seen in the national structure of the electorate that stood behind the newly elected president. However, since a direct nationalist confrontation with Albanians is no longer popular, the VMRO-DPMNE leader chose to enumerate towns and villages with a predominantly Macedonian population where their candidate won. And in the domestic case one needs to take into account the irrationality of the Macedonian nationalism which hardly reconciles with the reality of the multinational Republic of North Macedonia. I think that one of the basic tasks of the new president is to address exactly that part of the Macedonian population that voted against him and win it over for the new European policy.


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