Todays Date
January 20, 2021


Ivanov called for us to recognize the symbolism of the Pope’s visit. We recognized it. He failed.

writes: Zoran Ivanov


The elections ended. All but Siljanovska and post-election Ivanov won. The first was defeated by Pendarovski, the latter was self-defeated in front of the Pope.

In this text there are two views, on the presidential election and inevitably on the impression given by President Ivanov’s address to the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

The first one, on the presidential election and the parties:

Some celebrating, some grieving, some calculating, some manipulating. It is important that the election ended peacefully, civilized. The country moved a little forward. After a decade, a very important institution will finally start to function.

These were only presidential elections. The holder of the first state function does not have clientelistic resources. He does not have the state budget, does not make some profitable tenders, and cannot employ more massively in the administration and state companies. Practically he does not have the resources to be attractive to the wider electoral body. Hence, whether the electoral country will behave almost Scandinavian as these presidential ones, will have to be checked in the next parliamentary and local elections where party appetites are most clearly highlighted in the attack on state money.

Anyway, first with the fact that everyone won. Pendarovski won, became a president. SDSM and DUI won, their candidate got the mandate. VMRO-DPMNE won, won even more votes than the first round and much more than the last local. Reka won the sympathies of the widest Macedonian public. The Alliance and Besa won, on their opposition account they got almost eighty thousand votes.

Siljanovska is the only one defeated. Only she, of course, got nothing in political terms.

As far as the parties are concerned, they, despite the modest election results, pumped marketing euphoria and forced unrealistic electoral results. And actually, judging by the interest of the citizens for their campaigns, messages and calls, secretly none of the participants in the election race is satisfied. Voters voted for them so that the election did not fail. But even for that for both the election rounds, the party headquarters tore iron shoes. They rushed along the Macedonian streets to persuade and even get as many people as possible from their homes. Citizens sent them messages about the level of their authorities. They did so with the low turnout and with the revolt expressed by almost five percent invalid ballots.

April 21 and May 5 showed a different electoral sobriety. People dominantly overcame party obedience. After these elections unburdened with party dictates, another electoral psychological barrier seems to have been ruined. Finally, at least the clientelistic dependence and clientelistic irresponsible obedience to party entities has been relaxed.

The parties no longer have the power to govern the souls of voters who expect services that they naturally belong to them. These elections were without visible lists for forced voting, without double identification cards, without lifts out of service, without shameful blackmails for services in the past and clientelistic promises. In addition to the isolated election incidents of certain party executives, these presidential elections were conducted without decade-long regime election coercion. Even the emphasized abstinence that people manifested in both electoral circles can be reduced to that electoral freedom.

And the second view, on Ivanov in front of Francis:

It is incomprehensible why on this special occasion when the eyes of the world were turned towards North Macedonia, its president needed, with emphasized rhetorical dose of rigor and anger, to spill all his frustrations and to show his unrealized agenda. In this way, in front of the honorable guest, during his historic visit to us, he poured out all his political depression and so most infamously finished his already infamous ten-year mandate.

Ivanov should have known that the Pope knows about his political self-marginalization. About his entire mental xenophobic nationalistic agenda, his stubbornness and resistance to any kind of change that would develop the country forward. Instead, he upset Francis with the statement that he had come to the country at a time when the Macedonian society was deeply divided and when the Macedonian state was badly wounded due to the broken promises and because of the betrayed expectations by the international community. By that same international which, during his term of office, he often presidentially spitted.

Since the beginning of his double term, someone else has always been guilty of the situation in the country. Everyone both inside and out. He is the only one not to blame. Presumably, even in front of the Head of the Roman Catholic Church he did not have a dose of virtue to confess. He did not say anything about his role in the issues that he had stated in front of the guest. He did not say a word about his contribution to the blockade and his efforts not to remove them. Ivanov also reiterated that until recently in the country there was a regime that he supported and maintained. But he did not have to, because of course, Francis is quite familiar with it.

As the father of the nation, instead of calling for reconciliation and mildness, in his speech he used the Cross and the Crescent in the function of further divisions. He mentioned churches and mosques as border guards and fortresses for marking territories. In addition, he ignored his testimonies and his presidential silence about the provocations and religiously motivated fights, as the ones on the Skopje square or the church mosque events on the Skopje Fortress.

In spite of this, the Pope held a lecture on the current position of the country whose president is our university professor. On the bridge between East and West, on the soil where cultural currents are encountered and where many specifics of the region are united. And on the mix of different ethnicities that enable our society to achieve coexistence. Characteristics that are of great importance for him regarding our path towards faster integration in European countries.

Quite contrary to the conclusions of President Ivanov, Pope Francis saw a mosaic in the different ethnic and religious communities in the country. He saw the beauty of our whole picture, for which, in order to be able to instill in the hearts of future generations, every pebble is necessary.

However, respecting the honorable guest, Ivanov called for us to recognize the symbolism of the Pope’s visit. We recognized it. He failed.


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