The referendum is a test of the government’s competence

The referendum is a test of the government’s competence
The government and the parliamentary majority are facing one of the most difficult tasks in their mandate. After the signed agreement with Greece, the slogan "We gave our word" obliges them to demonstrate ability in a relatively short period of time to obtain citizens' consent for the signed agreement in a referendum and provide a two-thirds majority in the Assembly to change the Constitution in accordance with the provisions of that agreement. And only after that will be appreciated whether they were at the level of their historical task to make a major step forward in the recent political history of Macedonia.

If it were to be judged according to the percentage of citizens in Macedonia who are Macedonia's membership in NATO and the EU then, as Hristijan Mickoski usually says, "mathematically precise" has enough majority and public sentiment in the country to accept the Agreement with Greece in a referendum, as an act of removing the last obstacle in achieving the country's strategic goal declared by all parliamentary political parties in Macedonia.

As in any democratic country, we have a certain number of citizens who publicly declare themselves against Macedonia’s membership in the EU, and especially against Macedonia's membership in NATO. Some of them believe that it would be best for Macedonia to remain militarily neutral, as Serbia, for example, and have closer cooperation with Russia, try to develop as some kind of Switzerland in the Balkans or as some kind of "offshore destination", a free financial zone, ie as a free smuggling zone. Those who publicly advocate this view can discuss, debate and exchange public arguments about what would be better for Macedonia. Montenegro had such problems, so it resolved them in favor of NATO and EU integration.

But there are those who speak publicly about being in favor of Macedonia's membership in NATO and the EU, but only if Macedonia is not forced to sign some kind of good neighborly agreements with Bulgaria and Greece, on the basis of which we will need to accept a more precise name of our country and give some additional guarantees to those countries on the issues they consider as a danger of possible irredentism from us. The key thesis of these two, which are numerous and leading the Macedonian parliamentary opposition, is that with such contracts that have already been signed by the government, the Macedonian national identity is endangered and even national high-level betrayal is carried out, which demands political and criminal accountability. They argue that the name of the country is eternal, and NATO and the EU, as military and political alliances (which are supposedly their strategic commitment), are in crisis and are already in the process of decay and therefore should not hurry and accept “blackmails” from neighboring countries just to get membership. Hence, along with the President of the State, Gjorge Ivanov, they are opposed to the Agreement with Greece and will do everything to prevent it from getting it approved in a referendum and the creation of a two-thirds majority in the Assembly for the change of the Constitution.

The key method they have chosen for political action in this situation is the same as before the election of the president of the parliament by the new parliamentary majority and before the formation of the new government. This method implies: 1. Gross violation of the Constitution by President Ivanov (then by failing to appoint a mandate for the composition of a government, and now by not signing second-time passed laws by the highest legislature); 2. Political obstruction that leads to blockade of the work of the Assembly by blocking the election of members for the composition of the new State Election Commission; 3. Organizing protest rallies with hate speech for "committed national treason". All this should lead to a new April 27 in the country and new attempts to murder members of parliament and leaders of parties that support the Agreement with Greece. Hence, the key request of the leader of the opposition for amnesty to all who pledged Parliament's door to political violence on April 27th and that day attempted to murder members of parliament and leaders of the parliamentary majority parties.

Certainly, in the present conditions, since VMRO-DPMNE lost control over the police and paramilitary structures of the underworld known as "patriotic associations", and after being sentenced to long prison sentences, those who attempted murder did everything to prevent the change of power, it will be difficult for them to do another such stupidity, but a series of moves show that MPs coming from that party are again opening the door to violence against democracy in the country.

First. Ilija Dimovski was once again activated with gross abuse of the post as president of the Commission for Elections and Appointments, as before the election of Talat Xhaferi as President of Parliament, to block this time the election of the new State Election Commission that should conduct the referendum.

Second. The opposition conditioned the participation of the referendum with "a question that would be acceptable to it", in which no mention of NATO and the EU and would be considered a forged result if in some places where there was low turnout during the elections, appears that it is "Mathematically precise" that the referendum has significantly higher turnout.

And third. Even if all the demands of the opposition are met if the majority of citizens in the referendum say that they support the already signed Agreement with Greece, which is the last obstacle for Macedonia's accession to NATO and the EU, the opposition does not give public guarantees that it will respect the will of majority and will vote for the change of the Constitution.

Under such circumstances, the government and the parliamentary majority cannot afford to be blocked again.

Now the citizens are the ones who decide in which direction we will move, what will happen to us and our children, whether we will stay on our position, will we finally become part of the great family of the EU nations in which borders lose their significance or we will remain isolated, lonely, fighting with our neighbors and divided in all directions.

The opposition and Mickoski have the right not to be satisfied with the provisions of the already ratified Agreement with Greece and may demand that the Agreement is not supported in a referendum and for us to return the invitations for NATO and EU membership. But they have no right at key moments for the nation and the country, when Macedonia and the government enjoy the greatest international support and reputation, to spread fake news that they "have a better solution to this problem" and that their domestic and foreign experts will now develop a party program in which it will be explained in detail.

This process of reconciliation in the Balkans, bravely led by Zaev and his team, not only unites us with our neighbors, NATO and the EU, but also guarantees lasting interethnic cohesion for peace and stability in Macedonia.

Hence this is a test of the ability of the new parliamentary majority to rule and handle effectively with every kind of political obstruction whose purpose is completely clear and transparent.

Gjorgji Spasov

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