Wednesday, 13 December 2017 | News today: 13

SDSM’s defeat is certain, the question is whether the crisis will continue

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Columnist: Goran Momiroski

Macedonia’s electoral equation is unknown only in terms of the difference between the winner and the runner-up, something that is characteristic of all elections since 2008 and, above all, in terms of post-election scenario. It is almost certain that the defeated, all analyzes suggest that will be SDSM, will not accept the result, which was several times mentioned by the opposition activists. Promoting the motto “If we win, the elections will be fair, if we lose, the results will be fabricated,” the opposition clearly said that elections in Macedonia will be held under pressure by the foreigners , but they do not guarantee the end of the crisis.

Therefore, if the foreigners really want a stable and prosperous Macedonia, which will go ahead without getting stuck in the mud every 6 months, they must initiate another agreement. It does not matter if it will be signed in Przino, in Vodno or in Strumica. The most important thing is all parties to commit themselves to accept the election results and to begin to work on stabilizing the situation. Above all, the foreigners must initiate mechanisms to prevent the defeated from continuing to destabilize the country with institutional logjam, parliamentary boycott and street democracy. If that doesn’t happen, the combination of four more years in opposition and triumphalism of the winner can lead to an unseen tension. Following the crisis that began with the “Black Monday” and culminated with the “bombs”, Macedonia simply can no longer afford it.

Objectively, preparing an alibi for a defeat is a logical consequence of the circumstances on “Pavel Shatev” street because even much stronger and more organized parties than SDSM will find it hard to make a dramatic step forward from the pale election results they are facing since 2006. In a country like Macedonia, which in these 25 years, most of the people are divided on political grounds, it’s really hard to win the sympathy of a larger category of citizens. If we analyze the number of undecided voters, we will come across a figure of about 100,000 people that are registered as undecided before the elections, but who actually go to the polls. That figure could change the balance of power between the two major political parties and because it does not vote exclusively for one party, as the opposition experts are convincing us ahead of every election cycle. In Macedonia the rule according to which those who are silent before the elections vote for the opposition does not apply, on the contrary, in the last elections, the majority of that category of citizens voted for VMRO-DPMNE. SDSM leader knows this trend and that’s why he is trying to change the course of history and political practice by engaging the only group that has any power to help him in the battle with VMRO-DPMNE. He listens the Serbian strategists and has entered in a risky battle for Albanian votes, which even amateur politicians will tell you in advance that it is a lost battle. If Zaev wants to make a revolution in political history, the attempt to give concessions to Albanian voters with thesis of bilingualism is in place, but he might become the first person to trade a constitutional category in order to get support. But, except adding in his CV that he tried to enable Albanian children who study solfeggio in Prilep and in Strumica to write notes in Albanian, there will be no place for political success.

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Zaev should perfectly know that, unless there is a specific agreement between the two political parties in which part of the trade includes the votes of the party members and not the ordinary citizens, in Macedonia has never happened an ethnic Albanian to vote for a Macedonian political entity. In the reverse direction there was only one notable example in which the Macedonians, led by glibness and refinement, in 2009 voted for Imer Selmani at the presidential elections, but after seeing that Selmani started flirting with nationalist and religious political thesis, he and every other Albanian politician lost the opportunity to get much of the Macedonian votes.

The division between Macedonians and Albanians has been put on hold due to even greater division in the Macedonian block, but it exists and will exist. Meanwhile, no dramatic change has happened for Zaev to hope that Albanians will vote for Macedonians. Unless Zaev co-opts the Albanians in the highest bodies of the party as an alibi for the next defeat, his steps directed at approaching Albanian voters are hollow.

Even more because until just fifteen months there wasn’t a single Albanian in SDSM’s structures and honestly, nor Macedonian Muslims, Turks, Roma and members of other minorities. It is unrealistic, even politically naive, to think that with the entry of Edmond Ademi and Muhamed Zeqiri the Albanians will suddenly leave their decade-long fears and distrust and vote for Zaev, even if he roots for Shkendija, whose fans have their minds set on Greater Albania,  not Macedonia.

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Moreover, it’s a problem for Zoran Zaev and SDSM that the Albanians want to see concrete plans, steps, projects that will improve their lives. Neither the Albanians nor the Macedonians, nor anyone else is buying empty phrases like we will do this, we will do that, we will knock down the regime, we will free Macedonia. Voters want to see action where needed and in that regard Zaev presents himself as a modern politician just because he went to a circumcision party in Aracinovo. The rule “Promise them and forget them after the elections” does not apply in real life and in politics. People are used to getting promises fulfilled and empty political phrases no longer apply.

Through the example of Skopje mayor Koce Trajanovski and Gazi Baba mayor Toni Trajkovski, Zaev can best see how the political and ethnic reality in Macedonia functions. Even though most of the citizens who get information through social networks believe that Skopje mayor cannot even get near the village of Singelic, from where he was thrown out by several thugs after the devastating floods, the majority of the local Albanians will never forget what Trajanovski and Trajkovski did for them on the evening of August 6. Trajanovski and Trajkovski were the first ones that after midnight, together with the special forces of the police and the Army came to the village and coordinated a rescue operation. Talking with my neighbors (the author lives about a hundred meters from the flood-hit area) they say that they would do everything for Koce and Toni in gratitude for the saved lives. However, when asked whether they would vote for them in the elections, the answer was: “Neighbour, do not exaggerate.”

If this example is not sufficient for Zaev, he should be reminded of the experience of the former owner of A1 TV, Velija Ramkovski, who in the 2006 parliamentary elections was confident that he would win a hundred thousand votes in support of A1 for his party PEO. Later on he admitted that most of those who had promised to vote for him, didn’t do so. Certain analyzes showed that the largest number of votes for him came from areas where no Macedonians live, but members of other minorities who were mainly Muslims although Ramkovski based his campaign on civil rather than a religious platform.

Not only are these the problems that SDSM will face by December 11. One of the major problems is the lack of party structure which in the next 80 days will change Macedonia and, more importantly, will accurately elaborate specific interventions aimed at precisely defined categories of citizens. The key factor here is the small number of mayors from the ranks of SDSM which would help these projects with people and money because without party structure in the cities, especially in the interior, it is almost impossible to oppose VMRO-DPMNE and its permanent campaign in which towns and villages are visited not once but a dozen times a year and projects that are used by their members and other citizens are being implemented.

With only five mayors, one of whom is in the municipality of Centar, and it is unknown whether he will be a significant part of the opposition coalition, and without a mass of energetic young people that together with their older party colleagues will visit all the 400 thousand homes in Macedonia, their defeat is imminent.