In a 360 Degrees interview, VMRO-DPMNE Vice President Aleksandar Nikoloski pledged serious reforms in the judiciary, whose public trust has been dragged down to low single digits under the DUI – SDSM regime. VMRO-DPMNE calls for a complete overhaul of the Judicial Council and the Council of Prosecutors, and for thorough examinations of the property of judges and prosecutors, to determine proof of corruption.

I think that the situation in the judiciary is approaching dramatic levels. The public focus has been on the Criminal Court in Skopje which, in my opinion, works well, but the other courts, which are generating the problems, are away from public eye. God forbid you have to go before the court in Strumica, or Prilep, or Ohrid, or Kavadarci, on some business. They point you to the chosen lawyers who will charge you way above the regular fees to get the job done. In any city in Macedonia, the most beautiful houses are those of the judges, the prosecutors and the customs officers. That is not natural. We say, let’s dismiss the councils, let’s examine the property, how the judges and prosecutors got to buy these fancy houses, and then we will change the way they are eleted in the future, Nikoloski said, praising the model of election of members of the State Anti-Corruption Commission as a possible way in which the members of the councils of judges and prosecutors should be elected.

Nikoloski reminded the public that the European Union has recommended examinations in the work of these two councils, that appoint judges and prosecutors.

The way in which these institutions operate creates an oligarchy in the judiciary. Changing this is part of the reform agenda that Macedonia must implement if we are to receive funds from the EU development fund, that will amount to a billion EUR in the next four years – money that will seriously help Macedonia uplift its budget. And these funds are not linked to conditioning from Bulgaria, but are purely linked to our reforms. If we deliver, we will receive direct financial support, Nikoloski added.

Speaking about the race in the south-eastern 4th electoral district, where he faces former Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce as the leading candidate of SDSM, Nikoloski said that Filipce is abusing his former patients, who are now featured in his campaign.

It’s dishonest to abuse the fates of patients. We see Filipce doing rounds of the families of his former patients, sharing pictures with them on Facebook. This is low. Doctors should cure people in accordance with the Hippocratic oath, and that should not be seen as doctors doing the patients a favor that needs to be translated into political support, Nikoloski said.

Instead, Nikoloski called on Filipce to respond about the allegations of serious misuse and corruption in the healthcare sector while he was running it, which includes irregular purchase of vaccines during the Covid crisis, pressure on private healthcare providers to give away their business to foreign companies, and especially the disastrous fire in the Tetovo hospital that killed 14 people.