VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski joined the protesters who braved the snow and gathered in front of the Macedonian Parliament building on Wednesday to protest against the proposal to amend the Constitution to rename Macedonia into North Macedonia. Mickoski called for dignified protests against the imposed name change, which, he said, was rejected by the people.

Today we see the final act of the shameful process Zoran Zaev and his majority in Parliament pushed Macedonia into. The change of the Constitution was not proposed democratically, but through acts of violence over the Parliamentary procedures, blackmail and threats against members of Parliament and their close ones. VMRO-DPMNE and the Coalition for a Better Macedonia will not participate in this process and we will not legitimize, with our presence, the amending of the Constitution. We firmly believe that the proposal is harmful and will have a lasting impact on the Macedonian national dignity, and will alter our identity, especially in the institutions. We have a process to amend the Constitution which was put together by bargains, draconian blackmail, massive abuse of the prosecutors and the judiciary. The Kacarska led judiciary, Ruskoska’s prosecutors and the special prosecutors are mechanisms of this Government for blackmail and removal of political opponents. Zaev did not gain the necessary support for these changes at the referendum but is pushing them through anyway through criminal acts, and is forcing the members of Parliament to vote using the judges and the prosecutors, said Mickoski.

A large group of protesters is gathered in front of the Parliament building awaiting news from the inside. Eight former VMRO-DPMNE members of Parliament, who faced various criminal charges, including “terrorism”, agreed to vote with Zaev and open the process, and later negotiated amnesty deals. Zaev began the procedure with 80 votes, even though most experts agree that at least 81 are needed to have a two thirds majority. It is unclear whether additional VMRO-DPMNE members of Parliament will join this group, or if the group will continue to support Zaev. Mickoski said that the people protected its honor throughout the process.

It will remain written that not the citizens, but 80 members of Parliament, whose votes were secured with blackmail and threats, are giving up the name. The representatives vote under pressure, and not based on their conviction and free will. I realize some will try to deny this, but you, in the media, the wider public, you are all aware about the backstage games being played with Zaev’s selective reconciliation process. I ask you, are these European values? Of course not. All those kidding themselves that this is the way we will have a European Macedonia are delusional. We are getting further away from Europe with what we are doing, with a ruling majority violating all norms at a daily basis. This Government has lost its legitimacy by pursuing a policy which did not receive legitimacy from the citizens. Zoran Zaev and his narrow group of supporters want to secure their positions and privileges by pushing North Macedonia through, but my homeland, the homeland of all the citizens, is the Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Macedonia we voted for at the independence referendum on September 8th 1991, said Mickoski.

Meanwhile, SDSM said that it has the necessary two thirds majority in Parliament. It’s still unclear whether the vote will take place today. The protests are expected to last throughout the day, and resume tomorrow, if the vote is postponed. In a Facebook post, Mickoski said that he calls on all citizens to join the protests, because “we owe it to our country”.

Почитувани сограѓани,Го пишувам ова како син, родител, педагог, професор, сосед и пријател. Јас од денес ќе го…

Gepostet von Hristijan Mickoski am Mittwoch, 9. Januar 2019

Tomislav Tuntev, an SDSM member of Parliament who even led their party group, resigned to take over a well renumerated position at the public air traffic control company. SDSM should be able to replace him with the next on the party list of candidates, who would presumably remain loyal to the party line.

Zaev yesterday negotiated a last minute deal with two small ethnic Albanian parties to further water down the place the Macedonian people has in the Preamble of the Constitution and to elevate the position of the ethnic minorities. The two parties, BESA and Alliance of Albanians, threatened that they will not support the name change unless Zaev accepts theirs demands.
The proposed amendments add “North” in front of nearly every mention of “Macedonia” in the Macedonian Constitution. They also reduce the importance of the ASNOM 1944 assembly which declared the People’s Republic of Macedonia, but elevates the 2001 peace treaty with Albanian insurgents and makes a string of other concession to ethnic Albanians. An article also reassures Greece that Macedonia will not intervene to protect the rights of ethnic Macedonians living in Greece, whose very existence the Greek authorities deny.