Salvation is not in this or that party but in the democratic system
By Denko Maleski
I note that I persistently repeat one truth in the domain of domestic politics as I have for years done with another truth in international politics, namely that alliances are formed to defend the interests of their members and that without a compromise with Greece we have nothing to look for in its alliances. This time, it is the truth that the parties are not the ones saving the democracy, but the democratic system saves us from the parties’ abuse. In other words, the SDSM and VMRO can only, as a ball, hand over the captured state to each other, but no party can build a democratic system by itself. Someone will say, our parties, like all parties in the world, fight for power. However, there is one important difference. The political battle of their politicians takes place in conditions of built democratic institutions. There is also a difference in how the two cultures view power. When we speak of power in our Eastern authoritarian culture we mean power, force. In the West, the word is government, governance, but not merely as power but as a democratic system of cooperation, obstacles and balances. And, of course, in conditions of independent judiciary. We in Macedonia have yet to build it. And their beginning, just as ours, was not easy. But in their political histories, besides the parties, we notice a group of people, the so-called fathers founders of the republic, who, regardless of party differences, were committed to building a democratic system. With some exceptions, in the governing structure of our republic there is no such group of people committed to the principles of democracy. Everyone is committed to elections, as if they could be a substitute for the common design of a democratic system with principles that all adhere to.
The other day the TV camera showing the full name of SPO brought it back to my mind: Special Public Prosecutor’s Office for prosecution of crimes related to and resulting from the illegal interception of communications. A title that in the vocabulary testifies to the involvement of a foreign factor in a system in which the channels leading to justice in the regular prosecution are closed. The problem is not at the Special Prosecutor’s Office, an institution insisted on by politicians in the West who want to clear their name through a special procedure that will prove them innocent. In our case, empowered political gangsters have set themselves a completely different task: aware that they are to blame, to overthrow the institution. Thus an incredible story began, not of establishing the truth, but of preventing it from seeing daylight. I have been thinking, how superficial and irresponsible we are when we turned the whole debate over the illegal wiretapping of over 20,000 citizens and the crime so obvious from the footage, to the illegally obtained footage. Well, anywhere in the world, can such footage that reveals abuse of power be obtained legally? And so, instead of the whole society getting on their feet and demanding clearing up with the practice of illegal filming and clearing up with the crime recorded in the footage, the anger prevailed over why someone illegally took the footage and opened our eyes to the crime committed. Why are we angry? Because we have to take responsibility for the conditions in the society, but we run away from responsibility.
However, European and world processes point in the opposite direction. Politicians and intelligence would have to help disoriented people who were left without any moral compass after discovering the affair with the special public prosecutor. But this is not possible because they too are part of that tangled Balkan knot of personal, political and business interests. Do we have to come to terms with the fact that we will continue to live in a corrupt society? Of course, we do not have to come to terms with that fact, but we must be aware that the fight is terribly difficult. At least for those who care about justice and truth. Attempting to forcefully change things here does not help me, says former German Special Envoy Johannes Haindl at a joint lunch in Skopje. Do you think Ukraine is less corrupt today than it was before the democratic revolution? Just look at what happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The people took to the streets and literally burned down the political institutions. They burned down the buildings of government and parliament, but when the fires and the anger were extinguished, the politicians who took refuge at home returned to their posts.
The idealist in me tells me that maybe it is time for some democratic convention of the political forces of North Macedonia for laying the foundations of the democratic system. If we want a date to start negotiations with the EU, in these dramatic times for the state, the parties must demonstrate a common desire for democracy and the rule of law. This, of course, is just an appeal: parties, find a point of unification, the institution of the president, for example, and start working hard to build a democratic system! Unfortunately, there is no such level of consciousness in the Macedonian parties that are part of the tangled corrupt knot, so chances are that they will choose to continue to crumble until we all pay dearly for the school and learn the lesson that there is no democracy with one party and that it is the democratic system that saves democracy from party abuses.
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