In an interview with Republika, VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski discusse the coming dual elections and the prospects of removing the SDSM – DUI coalition from power, their continued failures which led to the worst ever EU progress report, the high level of corruption and the loss of trust in the country that is leading many citizens to move out.

The DUI party is appealing to national romantic ideas from the past, while it fails to resolve the current problems of the citizens. You know that Gostivar, Kicevo, Struga, Cair.. they’re emptying out. The people are leaving while a few officials from the top of DUI are becoming millionaires. In response, DUI is trying to bring both us and the Albanian opposition to debate them on the issues of national romanticism, where they are the strongest. But I think that the public is aware of these rude manipulations. Every new scandal means that some new plunder is being orchestrated and a few additional buses with young people will leave the country, Mickoski said, discussing the recent opening of a nationalist Albanian museum near Kumanovo where DUI leader Ali Ahmeti unveiled a plaque with the map of Greater Albania. In the recent months VMRO, which dominates SDSM in the polls, has trained its criticism on DUI, seeing it as the dominant partner in the coalition.

Macedonia faced double vote next year, presidential and general elections, and Mickoski revealed that this time he will lead the VMRO list in the 1st electoral district, covering the central parts of the capital Skopje. In the previous elections Mickoski was not on the list, insisting that as the party’s candidate for Prime Minister, he should not be trying to take up a seat in Parliament. “I was born here, I live in Karpos, which is part of the 1st district, and it is logical that I lead the VMRO list there”, Mickoski told Republika.
Regarding the Presidential elections, Mickoski said that the party is analyzing half a dozen candidates and that the choice will be made by party delegates. The VMRO leader said that he expects to see a highly negative campaign, while VMRO will try to offer projects and reforms for the future.

I also expect that DUI will be very unpleasantly surprised by the votes they receive in the next elections. This DUI leadership is deeply involved in crime. Our desired goal is to give a chance to the current Albanian opposition and to see DUI spend some time in opposition, to reform itself, Micklski said, while warning about attempts of smaller political parties to dilute the opposition vote by acting as “opposition to the opposition”.

The future Government will face the dispute with Bulgaria, which blocks Macedonia from opening its EU accession talks, as a main problem. Mickoski insists that the problem includes several issues – amending the Constitution to include the Bulgarian minority; whether this will be the last concession Bulgaria asks for; if this will be done under pressure and the lack of involvement of VMRO-DPMNE in the talks so far.

The Government awarded itself powers it does not have. It accepted something that it can’t deliver, in the name of two thirds of the representatives in Parliament – which it does not have. They tells us it is now the reality we live in, but it is also a reality that Bulgaria ignores 14 decisions of the court in Strasbourg. We offered a time-delayed amendment that would go into effect once the ratification of our EU membership begins in the European Parliaments, and we are told that is not acceptable. EU tolerates its most corrupt and poorest member state, which would not be able to survive without EU structural funds. If this is really a geo-strategic issue, and somebody wants to see Macedonia lead the enlargement process, than they can persuade Bulgaria to stop ignoring its own reality and implements verdicts from Strasbourg. The dual standards applied toward Macedonia in the past 23 years, the violent name change, the change of the flag, the territorial division, changes to the Constitution, no EU candidate state has done that. I’m prepared to talk on principles and based on European values. The future VMRO-DPMNE led Government will not shut down the door, we are ready to talk, but on the basis of European principles and values, Mickoski said.