Monday, 18 December 2017 | News today: 14

Miloshoski: DUI will not choose our presidential candidate

Ermira Mehmeti and other DUI official can have their opinion, sympathies or antipathies towards some politicians, but as members of the management of another party, they should not have bigger deciding right for VMRO-DPMNE's candidate than the members of our party, the MPs or the party's management

Samaras does not recognize the Macedonians, he considers them as a second-class nation and that is the main attitude why he refuses to meet legitimately with the chosen representatives of the Macedonian people, says, former Head of diplomacy, Antonio Miloshoski. According to the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs within the Assembly of Macedonia, with veto on NATO and EU obstruction, Samaras expects Macedonia to fall into internal tensions, inter-ethnic conflicts, to weaken and then beg Athens on its knees for admission in NATO and EU. If there are early parliamentary elections, he expects maintenance of the current balance of political parties and opposition, with small variation of plus or minus 3-4 MPs compared to the current number of MPs of the political parties. Miloshoski says that so far, except for promoting the principle of consensual candidate, DUI has not given any suggestion to VMRO-DPMNE for presidential candidate.

After the party foreign political campaign led by DUI,  DUI’s ministers traveled to Athens, and the leader Ali Ahmeti recommended us from Sofia which was the last suggestion by the mediator Matthew Nimetz, for Christmas SDSM was also in a diplomatic rush to Brussels. Does such diplomatic trips help the Macedonian position in the name dispute?

Miloshoski: Every political factor of good will can help Macedonia on international stage. The mentioned international activities of representatives of DUI and SDSM can help Macedonia only if spoken in one voice with the Foreign Ministry, representing all mutual policies in the state interests of the country. If that is not the case, if there is disagreement in the international performances of SDSM or DUI, or inter-party or international set ups on the account of the state interests, then that would be more like a parallel diplomacy  from which the state would have something more to lose than to gain. The president of DUI announced certain results from his activities in Athens, Hague and Sofia, but so far, there is nothing noticeable. Zaev and Shekerinska saw Fule, and Fule saw them, so we can only hope that it is now clear to them why Macedonia received  positive report by the European Commission for the fifth time in a row and who blocks EU decision to start accession negotiations. In regard to the name dispute, both SDSM and DUI have a similarity, and that is because both parties claim that VMRO-DPMNE has unyielding attitude in terms of resolving this issue imposed by Greece. Such claims do not help Macedonia on international plan at all, while we can bear with that on domestic terrain.

How do you interpret Antonis Smaras’ attitude his ministers to meet with Macedonian colleagues, while he, personally refuses to meet directly with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski? As of fear of the Macedonian arguments, danger for his image as hardliner nationalist or something else?

Miloshoski: Samaras does not recognize the Macedonians, he considers them as a second-class nation and that is the main attitude why he refuses to meet legitimately with the chosen representatives of the Macedonian people. Second, back in November 2004, after US recognized the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia , the Greek politicians decided to cut all bilateral meetings with our authorities. But, lately, official Athens has been inviting only Macedonian Albanians officials on meetings, thus creating an image that the Albanians in the country are constructive, while the Macedonians and Gruevski’s government are nationalists. That is just another Athens’ transparent tactic aiming towards stimulating internal political tensions and diagreements between the Macedonians and Albanians in the country, which is not something new from our southern neighbor. However, such Byzantine intrigues have been read as an ABC book and Samaras’ intention will not come to fruition.

Is it possible that Samaras has changed his attitudes from 2009, when he publicly, as Culture Minister at the time, announced that it was better for Greece to wait for an internal conflict with the Albanians in Macedonia? Is that the essence of the Greece position in regard to us? 

Miloshoski: From 1991 to 1996, official Athens together with the irrefrangible Milosevic was working hard in order to prevent the project for independent Republic of Macedonia, taking diplomatic and intelligence actions so that our country stayed in “mini Serboslavia” or had been divided between the neighbors. One of that actors of the nationalist tango with Milosevic was the very Antonis Samaras himself, who as Foreign Minister at the time draw new boundaries on Macedonia’s back. Today Samaras does not play the games for cutting out new boundaries of the Balkan, but he has not done anything, nor has given any statement saying that he has given up from his attitudes on Macedonia’s division. The pressure is now changed towards another direction, veto on NATO and EU obstruction. With such blockades, Samaras expects Macedonia to fall into internal tensions, inter-ethnic conflicts, to weaken and then beg Athens on its knees for admission in NATO and EU. Today, he probably recognizes the reality that the Republic of Macedonia is and will be a country, but takes steps this country to become more vulnerable, disunited, internally divided and internationally weak, i.e. Samaras pictures the Republic of Macedonia as the Republic of Cyprus.

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Venizelos announced to come to Skopje as EU President. Are there any minimal chances for Greece to move the radical red lines for the name Macedonia or should we wait for a change of the manner of deciding for admission in EU?

Miloshoski: I expect Venizelos’ visit to the Republic of Macedonia to be like a framework without a picture. Venizelos as well, is a politician from the old guards in Athens, who is facing a terrific fall of the PASOK ratings and he, personally is on the edge of his career. The elections for the European Parliament in Greece are expected to be yet another political blow from the opposition SYRIZA. In such situation, I do not expect that we will see any pragmatism or regional leadership by Greece. The process of changing the EU rules will take way too long, but the change of the picture and Greece’s influence in EU is something that happens daily. Greece is not what it once was, the old glory has ended, and the real problems hae become its main characteristic. In the years to come, I expect EU to create better conditions for the application of the ruling of the International Court of Justice, where Greece and Macedonia equally confronted their arguments.

Why is EU calculating and tolerating Greece in the name dispute with Macedonia, knowing that Athens has been relentlessly lying for decades, and not just about the name, but also about its finances and other malversations? 

Miloshoski: Greece was EU’s pet during the Cold War, and that is how it managed to become a member of EU. Today Greece is not EU’s pet anymore, but its problematic member, and yet uses and misuses its membership and the right to veto as a vested interest. Apart from that, some influential EU members are not interested in the EU enlargement and that is the moment which Greece skillfully uses against the Republic of Macedonia. Thirdly, EU has more concerns on saving the euro-zone and  keeping the social stability of Greece than Macedonia’s rightful cause. But it is up to us to keep going with good results, good reforms, even stronger lobbying within the influential EU members, and continuously show that even though just a candidate for EU , Macedonia has better performances than Greece as member of EU. At the end, our day will come.

The situation in the Euro-Atlantic integration is strongly influencing on the internal situation. DUI has long been demanding consensus in regard to the state’s President, so even directly threatens to leave the coalition if VMRO-DPMNE does not accept their suggestion for President. Was such move expected from the coalition partner?

Miloshoski: A certain distance can be noticed in DUI’s attitude towards VMRO-DPMNE. Still there is a small group of eminent DUI officials who moan about their old love with SDSM, their comfort at the time in their mutual tenure, so they are trying to find excuses and causes for tensions or breaking the coalition with VMRO-DPMNE. The Euro-Atlantic integration is sometimes used as an excuse in this context. We do not interfere in their inter-party happenings. The election programme is what matters to us, and its accomplishment as an obligation to the trust we have gained from the citizens. If DUI decides to continue acting within the framework of the coalition, we are ready to continue accomplishing the election programme together. But, if DUI decides to leave the coalition with VMRO-DPMNE, we are ready for that option as well, and we have the capacity to find proper solution.

Does Macedonia need a government which would operate on principles based on blackmail. Is VMRO-DPMNE ready to accept the presidential candidate to be chosen by DUI’s blackmail?

Miloshoski: Since Gruevski has been at the head of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, blackmail is not a productive tool for reaching parties goals out of the agreed concept and work programme. Blackmail can only have a negative effects and violated trust. So far, that balance between the parties and the state’s goals and interests has been maintaining at satisfactory level, although we often have different attitudes with DUI on many issues. The most prevailing these days is the manner of assigning candidates for President of the Republic of Macedonia. The proposition for consensual candidate is a novelty in their agenda, and I think that it has not been analysed from all aspects. Does a consensual candidate mean that all political parties of the government and the opposition will stand by one candidate by consensus? Will the parties’ elites throw in a shadow the role of the parties’ membership and choose a candidate without their explanation? Is consensual candidate an introduction to a consensual democracy in the state? Will that proposition be conditioned with consensual elections for Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minister or President of the Constitutional Court? However, VMRO-DPMNE will have party convention for selection of the presidential candidates, where everybody who thinks that has the capacity for the position will be able to apply, where the members of the party, not the parties’ elites, will decide who is the most ready and most appropriate to enter this important elections.

What would that mean for the Macedonian democracy and the political system where the Albanians, for examples, with reference to the Ohrid Framework Agreement demand things which were not even mentioned at the time of its signing, and then in the municipalities where they gained the authority, as, for instance, in Kicevo, they laid off a bug number of Macedonians?

Miloshoski: Certain Albanian politicians have double measures in regard to interpreting the Ohrid Agreement. The tests for the democratic capacity of these politicians are  the very municipalities where the Macedonians are minority, where ethnicity should not be a handicap which will endanger the rights of the Macedonians. A much bigger test to all politicians claiming that engage themselves in the human rights are the places where still, because of religion of ethnic politics, the right of the mother tongue – Macedonian language has been endangered, as in the villages Borovec, Podgorci, Labunishta, Bacishta etc. Albanians, who mostly refer to the right of the native language have that constitutional right, but they should not violate that right to endanger the right of the students who speak the Macedonian language as their native language.

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You are not part of the executive authority, but I believe that as a member of the Executive Committee of the party, you have some information about the relations with DUI. Has VMRO-DPMNE received any suggestion for consensual presidential candidate by DUI?

Miloshoski: So far, apart from the promoting of the principle of consensual candidate, DUI has not given any suggestion for presidential candidate to VMRO-DPMNE. But, as I pointed out earlier, everyone who thinks that can, wants and knows how to be a VMRO-DPMNE’s presidential candidate, has open doors to apply at the election party convention and test the trust of the delegation and the members of VMRO-DPMNE. Anyway, the final decision is in the hands of the party membership and I believe that is the right manner for selecting a candidate. Ermira Mehmeti and other DUI official can have their opinion, sympathies or antipathies towards some politicians, but as members of the management of another party, they should not have bigger deciding right for  VMRO-DPMNE’s candidate than the members of our party, the MPs or the party’s management. Additionally, DUI’s public messages that they have something against President Ivanov and they would not support him if he were to run for president again, were received as a baseless insult, irritating our party as coalition partner. This public announcement looks like interfering in the inter-party matters of VMRO-DPMNE. Thus far, President Ivanov has been performing his constitutional authority very well, representing all residents and the state on international plan, without causing any political or ethnic damage to anyone on domestic plan. Therefore, if DUI had or has any serious message in regard to President Ivanov, it would be more convenient to deliver it to him or VMRO-DPMNE’s management, instead of sending out messages through the public, who are liable for various interpretations and speculations.

What is VMRO-DPMNE’s attitude in regard to a president which will be supported by all political parties?

Miloshoski: If all political parties manage to come to an agreement, I wish them good luck, to them and the presidential candidate. VMRO-DPMNE still has not decided anything in regard to that issue, the procedures about the selection of presidential candidate should start in the course of February, and we would very much appreciate the opinion of the citizens and the members. What I know is that we have good human potential for the position and we will probably have two or more candidates. In terms of time, as every proper authority, we will give advantage to the opposition to promote its presidential candidate first, while I expect VMRO-DPMNE convention to make the final decision and selection of candidate a day before the deadline for registering the candidates at the State Election Commission.

DUI’s leader, Ali Ahmeti, recently held various meetings with part of the opposition parties, talking about a consensual candidate. In case of coming forward with a mutual preposition, what are your evaluations, is there any chance to beat your candidate?

Miloshoski: It is up to the citizens which presidential candidate will win, not the leaders of the political parties. VMRO-DPMNE believes that at the elections, the people are always right, politicians can be wrong, but voters no. According to my understanding, VMRO-DPMNE’s candidate would have good chances of wining, but of course with hard work, good programme, serious introduction, past work and sincere policy in the interest of the state. Both the Republic of Macedonia and the citizens need an honorable and principled politician.

Is the development of the events leading towards the necessity of early parliamentary elections?

Miloshoski: That depends on various factors, particularly the readiness or the unreadiness of the opposition for early facing with the parliamentary elections. Here, SDSM’s attitude is rather inconsistent. Today they want elections, tomorrow threat with boycotting if there are. It depends on the relations in the government’s coalition and the efficiency of the Parliament and Government’s operating. At the same time, the trading aspect should be also taken into consideration, or whether for a small economy as Macedonia’s is better to have two election cycles within a year, or would it be more convenient and more economical to joint the presidential and parliamentary elections. However, even though parliamentary elections are not our priority, VMRO-DPMNE is ready for whichever development of the events or if any based or forced circumstances for such developments, we will accept the challenge with all due seriousness.

Is there any danger of not meeting the census in the second cycle of  presidential elections if simultaneously there is novearly parliamentary elections?

Miloshoski: I expect the census on the presidential elections to be met, initially because of the election maturity of the Macedonian citizens. Every political subject that would act towards not meeting the census, will only damage the Republic of Macedonia, aiming to cause a rather not so big political crisis in the country. This option is also not excluded, especially if we take into account that some political subjects see the presidential elections as a possibility to deliver some political invoices as a condition for reaching the census. Anyway, whoever tries to profit in that manner, they have much to lose, especially voters’ opinion. The elections are a possibility and right for political competition, and not political traps on the state’s account.  Everybody who takes part in elections should be aware that can win, but also lose, and that losing the elections should not be an excuse for sabotage or boycott. At the same time, good and successful elections will be a plus one for the Republic of Macedonia in the eyes of the European public.

How do you see the political map of Macedonia if there are early elections? Is there any possibility for a significant change of the political set and presence of new political subjects?

Miloshoski: If early elections, I expect three things. First of all, maintaining the current balance of ruling and opposition political parties, with small variations from plus or minus 3-4 MPs in comparison to the current number. Second, if some smaller political parties such as the Liberal party, Liberal-democratic party, DOM, Rufi Osmani’s party, NSDP or the Democratic Union, perform on their own on the eventual early elections, they can face bad results which would put them away from the Parliament. And third, I expect the new political parties as GROM, Party for Democratic Prosperity and Positive Macedonia to have some symbolic number of MPs at the Parliament, not more than two of each party. In regard to SDSM, at Parliament it can be noticed that their MPs are not solid as a group, so I expect some prominent SDSM MPs not to be found on Zaev’s lists if any early elections. Nevertheless, if parliamentary elections, Zoran Zaev as president of the party would be expected to be SDSM candidate. I am sure that Zev was pretty much motivated if such eventual elections for new Parliament and Government’s structure.

By: Goran Momiroski

Photography: Aleksandar Ivanovski