With friends even when they are wrong, against enemies even when they are right
By Denko Maleski
One ancient rule in politics that undermines the rule of law is: With friends even when they are wrong, against enemies even when they are right. In a society ruled by a culture of impunity, the rule is the most widespread. Macedonian parties adhere strictly to the rule, undermining their actions what they declaratively advocate: a society ruled by laws, not individuals. Staying with friends even when it is clear that crime is committed, the new leadership of VMRO-DPMNE offends our intelligence. With our own ears we heard about abuses of power by friends, but taught that, under European law, recordings cannot be evidence in court, and evidence is difficult to come by; the new people in the Macedonian nationalists pretend they did not exist and blame the SDSM for the same things they did not allow their friends to be held responsible for. In other words, they brazenly laugh in our face. It will never pass within the decent and opinionated public in the country. Never. New people at the top of the party lost their face when they decided not to allow their friends to be held responsible. Not even for disabling the elevators for adults not to go to the polls. Such people are not the alternative that would “bring” a rule of law in Macedonia.
Is it possible that the “Racket” affair is a gift from heaven that will reverse this behavior of the parties? We’ll see. Namely, it has become a tradition for the new political establishment to amnesty the leadership of its political opponents during the change of power, wreaking only some unfortunate one from the lower echelons of the previous policy. To the full approval of the democratic public, this unwritten agreement between the parties was breached by incumbent Prime Minister Zaev. In specific international circumstances of growing rivalry between the great powers in the Balkans, with strong support of our Western allies, a special prosecution was set up to determine who had tapped citizens in unauthorized manner and to instigate litigation to punish those who abused their power breaking the constitution and the laws. The unwritten rule of impunity of the parties’ leadership in the change of power was violated. The apparent crime of the leadership of VMRO-DPMNE, a party that has shown how easy it is to produce autocracy, has not been enough for the new leadership to turn a new page in its political history and to stand behind the laws and justice. At least with one apology. On the contrary. Trying to get back to the politics of impunity, they began with accusations: of privatization, of TAT, and similar abuses that the party was not held responsible for. It is true, but it is also true that with the SDSM coming to power many things have changed, the fear of the former empowered government, when people whispered, disappeared, but unfortunately the system could not be changed. It has not changed because there is no democratic system without power and loyal opposition. Opposition loyal to the principles of the rule of law and not to friends.
But all of a sudden, there was terrible disappointment with SDSM. The behavior of the special prosecutor and the criminal suspicions of the current government may become the key to opening the door to the rule of law. What the VMRO-DPMNE sabotaged and boycotted, defending the obvious crime of its former leadership, was consistently justified by the fact that the same thing had been done by the SDSM in the past. With the revelation of the “Racket” affair, SDSM has a chance to show the opposition party an investigation into “friends” and not just “enemies”. The fear that this crime is even reaching the top of the pyramid of power is great, and there will be even more disappointment and anger if it is so. But if the ruling party does not obstruct honest judicial and investigative action, it not only has a good chance of winning the next election, but also, with full right and strong moral authority to mobilize the society to apply the same principles to those of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE. Finally, thanks to this corruption case, the game of impunity for senior officials has a chance to stop, and justice finally to get its course. The eyes of the democratic public in the country, of our allies in NATO and the EU are focused on this case. It will be the litmus test not only for the future of SDSM, but also for the democracy and rule of law in North Macedonia. The clearing up of the affairs with the abuse of power of the old leadership of VMRO-DPMNE now directly depends on clearing up the affair with the finger on the new SDSM. It depends on the outcome of this investigation and trial whether we will make the decisive step towards the rule of law, or the party leadership, as in the past thirty years, will remain “partners in crime”.
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