When you call the elections a new independence referendum, when you connect victory with the survival of Macedonia, when you treat defeat as a disaster for all citizens, and not just for the political party you represent, then something is seriously wrong. It is true that Macedonia is in severe political crisis and that these choices depend on many things about Macedonia’s future, but certainly, it is not a sufficient reason from the very start of the campaign to lie, to give false unattainable promises and to change the reality only because you got carried away by the the atmosphere of a party rally. Especially if you already considered a liar.
The two-faced Macedonian Zaev
Clearly, this applies to all parties and politicians, but somehow the most striking example of such behavior is SDSM leader Zoran Zaev, who besides repeatedly refuting himself, in the first two days of the campaign said dozens of other illogical, inconsistent and absurd claims that not only can be defined as a black campaign, but also as a mere worthless lie that his party’s voters and supporters do not deserve. Ten days after he was asked on TV 21 whether he would change the Constitution to enable Albanians to get bilingualism he said that’s not excluded and that it “will happen when there is pragmatic necessity,” at a rally in the Aerodrom municipality he said that he would “not allow anyone to change the Constitution because it is the guarantor of multilingualism in Macedonia.” Zaev denies that he wants federalization, but he doesn’t deny that he plans to introduce bilingualism, something that the press service of his party has done many times claiming that the party leader was not well understood.
Black campaign since day one
Although the Code for Fair Elections envisages the campaign to pass in a fair and correct battle in which arguments and projects will be the priority, apparently it is no obstacle for Zaev to call his political opponents bandit – criminal – mafia power. And he does that from the position of a man who is facing two charges in the ‘Bribery’ case and in the ‘Coup’ case, and earlier was pardoned by Branko Crvenkovski for a crime worth 8 million euros in the “Global” case. Although Zaev, instructed by his previous gaffes, is trying not to mention the members and voters of VMRO-DPMNE, with his messages he is indirectly irritating 160 thousand members of the ruling party and about half a million people that voted for the party in the last elections and thereby he cannot hope to benefit from them. He compared his main political rival Nikola Gruevski, for whom he says has escaped from his constituency to face him in the 4th constituency, to the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler calling him the Führer, which not only contradicts the electoral code but also a number of laws in the European Union. Moreover, Zaev, who under the Przino Agreement promised not to announce and use information from the intercepted calls, on the first day of the campaign threatened that he wanted to ask Gruevski about issues related to the bombs, which is far from the spirit of the agreement signed with the assistance of the EU and the United States.
SDSM would bring paradise in the country
Zaev being unserious at rallies is best shown by his criticism of the government and the projections on the steps of SDSM if it came to power. SDSM leader accused Gruevski of lying when he announced minimum wage of MKD 14,000 by 2020 and immediately after that, without the blink of an eye, announced that SDSM will increase the minimum wage to MKD 16,000. At a time when, according to the leader of SDSM, the economy is collapsing, the average wage would rise by 40 percent.
He also promised an average wage of 500 euros as real as it was the promise of Branko Crvenkovski who at some of the previous elections promised that a member of every Macedonian family would be employed. While he criticizes that the budget is in disarray and that the state is indebted, he continues to promise more, so businessmen “got” 140 million euros and a number of other things that he did not say how will be covered. The most unclear of all the promises made in the first days of the campaign is that for free hospital treatment for all.