An audio tape published by the US based leaker El Cheka reveals a conversation that could lead to criminal charges against Zaev’s deputy – Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska. The recording contains a conversation between Sekerinska and former Deputy Prime Minister Fatmir Besimi, apparently conducted during the 2013 municipal elections.
VMRO-DPMNE demanded a recount and eventually a repeated vote in Centar and Kumanovo – two municipalities which Zaev’s and Sekerinska’s SDSM party won at the elections. In the tape, Sekerinska is asking Besimi to getthe DUI party appointed membre of the State Electoral Commission to vote together with SDSM and to prevent the recount.
The international report will crash if there is a recount if the opposition can’t win here. It’s important to see how the SEC votes and your vote there is essential, Sekerinska tells Besimi.
Besimi was in charge of EU accession at the time, and Sekerinska tells him that, if the vote doesn’t go their way, SDSM may abandon the institutional dialogue and will contribute to a negative report from the EU, making Besimi’s work much more difficult.
SDSM insisted that a similar recorded conversation, between VMRO-DPMNE official Saso Mijalkov and DPA party leader Menduh Thaci, who were influencing the outcome of an SEC vote in the same municipal elections, is a criminal act and should be prosecuted. The Special Prosecutor’s Office happily obliged and Mijalkov and Thaci were dragged before court on charges of election tampering, with the audio tape – which is essentially identical to the one between Sekerinska and Besimi – used as evidence against them. In this recording, Mijalkov asked Thaci to get the DPA member in the Commission to vote with the ruling majority. Both were sentenced to three years in prison over the conversation. It now remains to be seen whether the same legal standards will apply to Sekerinska.
The recording was published by Sekerim Ahmeti – El Cheka, a Chicago based ethnic Albanian from Macedonia who has published a number of recordings that apparently come from the cache of wiretaps which the SDSM party used to seize power. Unlike the tapes used by SDSM, Cheka’s tapes are longer, uncut, and provide additional information about the 2015 wiretapping scandal. In one instance, the publication of the full account of a conversation that includes Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski threw a starkly different light on one of the most emotional cases used by SDSM in their propaganda campaign.
Gruevski has also claimed that the cache of tapes given by SDSM to the Special Prosecutor’s Office was thoroughly scrubbed of anything that could be used against SDSM officials such as Zaev and Sekerinska. The publication of the tape in which Sekerinska is influencing the vote of the State Electoral Commission reveals that El Cheka apparently has access to tapes which can be used against DUI as well as against SDSM.