Opposition boycott: What crisis awaits us?
After exhausting the procedures for revoking the mandates it is certain that by-elections elections will be called to fill vacant MP seats, experts say. But then we will get into more serious political crisis, explains Professor Kadriu,
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MPs’ absences in parliament are counted, including those from the opposition, who long ago deposited resignations, and now Speaker Trajko Veljanoski will sanction them for “unexcused absence”, that is their mandates will be revoked due to absence from work. Determining the non-appearance of MPs at the meetings is in this way determining political accountability, experts say. Some of them explain that the variation of group revocation of mandates is not under the Constitution.
According to Vice President of SDSM Radmila Sekerinska, this delay is only pressure made on the opposition by the government. She is decisive that SDSM MPs are not going to change their minds.
“Without negotiations that will mean serious application and providing the conditions for free and fair elections we are not returning to Parliament. This delay is just a pressure that is made by the government against the opposition. There was no need to wait for six months, the resignations had been submitted”, said Shekerinska.
“It is unclear why Veljanovski chose this way to solve the problem with us MPs when resignations were deposited in Parliament long ago. In my CV I do not want to have the fact that I have been revoked. However, it is different when you resign. Hence, this is another attempt by the government to victimize us, SDSM MPs”, says for “Inbox 7” Lidija Dimova, a member of SDSM in resignation.
Asked if some MPs will return to Parliament, Dimova is decisive that she will not return. “It is unserious to me after 6 months to decide to enter the Parliament especially because now you do not have the excuse that citizens voted for you to represent them. In these six months, if I am sure in anything, it is that the opposition voters certainly do not want us to represent them in this Parliament. And for that I have no doubt. Personally, I do not think anyone would return, because the truth is somewhat different than that reported by the media after each our Executive Board”, says Dimova.
She thinks SDSM will consistently implement its strategy for action among citizens. “The facts tell us that because of the controlled media scene, citizens are usually misinformed and hence make opinions based on wrong (deliberately manipulated) evidence…Our goal is to spend more time among them and to talk about the countless misconceptions created by the government”, Dimova is decisive.
According to Vice President of SDSM Frosina Remenski, potential individual returning of opposition MPs in parliament are media spins.
“The opposition remains with the resignations submitted, Trajko Veljanoski is still chairman of the Assembly who has not scheduled a meeting after the resignation, but decided to wait six months even though it could have been completed. We are not concerned about the situation, the dialogue depends on the government, our five points are clear, these are state themes. Basically there are other procedures under parliamentary rules. By not scheduling the meeting after the resignation that could have been done in the summer, Veljanovski admits that opposition MPs are justifiably absent“, says Remenski for “Inbox 7”.
As it is known, SDSM put on the negotiating table with the government the point of forming a technical government, a proposal that Prime Minister Gruevski dismissed, the other four requirements for political dialogue are: regulation of the media, separation of party and state, conducting census of population and new voter lists.
Some opposition MPs who think that the boycott should be stopped, however decided to wait to see what the “bomb” contains of arguments and evidence of SDSM leader Zoran Zaev, which he said would result in the resignation of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.
Opposition’s acting out of the legislature is harmful, strong criticism is missing for making better laws, parliamentarians consider.
“This will weaken small political parties that are in opposition. We are also one such entity with its own specific program and profile. It is a great pity”, recently said in an interview for Inbox7 the president of DOM, Liljana Popovska. According to her, one by one the opposition will start to come back, “there is no logic in the long existence of something that does not give a result. In politics it is necessary to deliver a result, to have your own agenda and to realize your program. If you are outside the institutions you cannot implement the program”. She proposes to sit down and talk, because according to her all the conditions that are realistic and logical can reasonably be agreed upon and a solution can be found.
Macedonia has a political crisis of democracy
SDSM decisively continues to boycott the Parliament, which is not excluded to extend to municipal councils and mayors.
“Yes, everything is in game. If it is estimated that at some stage the municipalities and councils need to be boycotted, it will be done”, says Lidija Dimovska, SDSM MP in resignation. To the question of “Inbox 7” if such action is expedient, she said results can be seen despite the “negative” rating of SDSM.
“Citizens are now for the first time able to see the rule of DPMNE. Now they cannot blame the opposition for anything! Constitutional amendments, contributions of freelancers outside government organizations, increased costs for companies by buying cash registers from “approved” suppliers, so-called Cambridge textbooks etc. are questions that citizens ask and will have to seek the answers only at the government…Of course, we are aware that this is the harder time for action, but actually there is nothing else we can do. Parliamentary booth is not a channel for addressing citizens in a state that has controlled media”, said Dimova.
For boycott on local level deputy president Remenska says SDSM operates on four strategies, what moves will be taken in the future will be considered later. To the question of how to find a way out of this political crisis Remenski says VMRO – DPMNE uses the term “political crisis”, but according to her, in Macedonia there is a political crisis of democracy and the solution consists of five points for dialogue set by SDSM. “The government cannot establish functioning of institutions, but they need to show willingness to want to resolve the issue in the Parliament and the establishment of functioning of institutions. We are aware of the criticisms that were listed in the EU report, we are ready for talks if the government accepts it”, Remenska explains.
There are no rules, but much philosophizing
While the parliamentary process to revoke the mandates is dragging, the deadline to demonstrate democratic maturity before Brussels, that is the December EU summit, takes place soon.
Parliamentary Speaker Veljanoski did not schedule a meeting to determine the deposited resignations of opposition. Instead, six months after he opened the procedure for revocation of mandates. While opposition concluded that this is an additional pressure on them, the public calculated the salary of 31 justifiably or unjustifiably absent MPs or paid 314,000 Euros plus appanage for MPs of the previous term.
According to Professor of Constitutional Law Osman Kadriu, submission of resignation is a personal right and democratic decision and there is no political responsibility for that.
“Now after 6 months the Assembly met for the revocation of mandates, the finding of MPs not attending the meetings in this way is revealing political responsibility, and it is a sanction. The Parliament did not act on their request for finding of resignations, therefore in the latter “unjustified absence” cannot be applied because the responsibility is the MPs who are in Parliament”, says Kadriu for “Inbox 7”.
Members of the Committee on Rules of Procedure and Mandatory and Immunity Issues have voted for revocation of mandates, a two-thirds majority is necessary, but without the votes of DUI and DPA that have not yet said whether they will vote to revoke the mandates, VMRO – DPMNE does not have the required majority.
In its over twenty years’ existence the Assembly has revoked only two mandates – of the late honorary president of DPA – Arben Xhaferi and former MP Hysni Shaqiri. While committee members once voted against revoking the mandates of Vlado Buckovski and Xhezair Shaqiri.
Speaker Veljanoski and his deputy Milososki did not respond to telephone calls of “Inbox 7” to explain what will happen if ruling VMRO-DPMNE does not have a majority to revoke the mandates at the parliamentary committee.
The first speaker of Macedonian Parliament Stojan Andov for “Inbox 7” says that Macedonia has not had such a case yet. According to him, this variant of group revocation of MPs mandate is not under constitutional decision. “It is impossible to revoke mandates to a group of MPs for political reasons, it is scheduled to be done by a two-thirds majority because of indiscipline, absence from meetings, running private businesses etc.,” explains Andov and adds that constitutional decision is not oriented towards a group of MPs, but to individuals.
Macedonia is in political crisis, says Andov, and there are no rules, but much philosophizing.
According to the SEC procedure, after exhaustion of the election list of other opposition candidates and their possible not accepting of the mandates by-elections will be called for the vacant MPs.
“Then we will get into more serious political crisis, says Kadriu because as the opposition announces, it will not come out at these elections and we will find ourselves in an extremely worrying situation, a single-party system, and the opposition will be eliminated from the political scene”.
Editor: Stojanka Mitreska