Todays Date
August 18, 2022

It is important that the democratic process win

By Denko Maleski


We will all have to make a great effort for the presidential election to succeed. Namely, the wishes of Brussels, our government and the majority of citizens for the perfect presidential election are one thing and our reality and our tradition are something different. Nothing in our policy is perfect, and at least the presidential election. We still reach out for what is basic: the presidential candidates, after the elections, on their own behalf and on behalf of the parties that run them, to shake hands, recognizing the victory and legitimacy of the opponent. If it happens in these elections, it will be the first time in the three decades of the history of democratic pluralism. Namely, no president has ever been recognized by the opposition after the general election. The chances that this will happen are small, as at such a level of confidence there will be thousands of reasons for challenging them, but it is worth to vote and do our best not to be that way. For, it may even be possible for the parties not to secure the necessary census because the times of bulk filling of the ballot boxes have passed, the shame of the Macedonian elections.

A successful democracy requires a degree of trust, and trust is perhaps the main reason we should be concerned about the outcome of the presidential election. In particular, the lack of confidence among the people in political institutions and procedures, as well as the absence of elemental mutual trust between the parties competing for their candidates.

In the first case, when it comes to the trust of the people in political institutions and procedures, it means citizens generally to feel that politics takes care of their interests. Yes, people who believe that the state works in their favor will do something for that state. However, everything that happened with our country especially for the last decade, reduced the confidence of the citizens in the political process and in the institutions of representative democracy. To be declared a state capture by the EU and America means that they openly tell you that the government in Macedonia does not care for the citizens primarily, but for itself and for its clients. On top of this, the way the parties faced this dramatic crisis further undermined the confidence of the people in the government. The opposition, caught in the act of abusing the entrusted authority, registered in the tapped materials, has for too long been refusing to assume responsibility and thus cease the cycle of mutual amnesty of party leaders’ for the committed crime, a practice after the change of each government since 1991. In accordance with our political tradition, it requires another amnesty. The persistence with which it does it undermines democracy, but also disqualifies it, depriving the society of a new democratic start. I mean the beginning after which the relations between the government and the opposition, for the first time, would be placed on healthy democratic grounds, not on “partnership in crime”. The government, on the other hand, cannot proceed to serious consolidation of a democratic system without opposition that is ready to immediately accept the new rules of the game dictated by Washington and Brussels, which would restore the people’s confidence in political institutions and procedures. The main problem with the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office is that if time is given to establish the truth, it will prove that power was abused, there was stealing and lying, followed by justice: prison sentences. The indications that parts of the government are involved in that crime further complicate the story of who appears in the role of a brakeman in resolving the status of the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office. The visible escape from the truth and justice only deepen the mistrust among the citizens that there is no salvation from corruption in politics in Macedonia. It will be terrible for the moral of the people and for the international reputation of the country if the scandal over the wiretapping of 20,000 citizens in Macedonia that mobilized the domestic public and international politics in the collapse of the Nikola Gruevski regime is not solved. But it is about personal fates of politicians and these are steel ties of solidarity against fragile justice. The brutal use of the Prespa Agreement as an instrument for inflating the nationalist feelings of the people against the current government which has committed a “betrayal” of our national interests, is only a stake in this struggle for personal salvation of politicians. Another game with the patriotic feelings of the ordinary citizen whose emotions have been abused since the beginning of the dispute with Greece. Such behavior blocks the confidence-building space between the government and the people, which would follow the consolidation of the democratic system and the rule of law, destroying the very small confidence that “someone up there” takes care of the truth and justice and the people. This political situation does not promise great enthusiasm for any political procedures, including the upcoming presidential election.

The second case, the absence of elemental trust among the parties that are in competition for their presidential candidates, stems from everything said above. Our parties have made politics a “battle of life and death”, an unhealthy state for every democracy and the confidence of citizens in politics. In such circumstances, the presidential candidates from SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE are busy with the party circles of the deeply divided Macedonian society, a state that is not overcome only by their decency or wit. The basic question is not whether someone is ready to win, but whether he is ready to lose. Is anyone ready to lose the election? I do not think so. The mistrust among the parties is such, and the stake of the outcome of the party battle to control the presidency is so great that I ask myself the question: How will the party that starts to lose in the presidential election react? Will it participate in the lost game to the end and give legitimacy to the opponents’ victory or obstruct the election of the president of the state or the legitimacy of the elected one. Parties are only groups of people. They behave the way the politician would behave with our mentality, a product of our political culture. Our “unfair” behavior in politics is a constant which only culminates in the elections. If the conduct of the politicians of a country is “fair” in everyday politics, it can be expected that they will behave the same way during the elections.

Regardless of what has been said or perhaps just because of this, it is important that citizens come out as massively as possible in the elections and to vote in the first and second rounds. That way to give a lesson to politicians. As the starting point for overcoming deep distrust in our society is to win the democratic process. What will come out of it, we will see.


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