Analysis: The post-election Rashômon in North Macedonia

Analysis: The post-election Rashômon in North Macedonia

Negotiations to eliminate Zaev

For the next four years, during the most difficult reforms and the reversible difficult conditions for EU membership, a stable government in North Macedonia means a coalition between all Albanian parties and the winner of the SDSM elections, or a coalition of all Albanian parties in cooperation with VMRO DPMNE.

By Erol Rizaov

The post-election negotiations on the composition of a coalition government and the election of a prime minister which have yet to kick off, judging by the initial reactions are aimed at knocking Zoran Zaev out of the Prime Ministry race and underestimating the fragile, yet significant victory of the Social Democrats and their allies. Consequently, the only opportunity to form a stable government after North Macedonia clinches its strategic goals for faster development, espousing the European standards, successful reforms, good neighborliness and permanent EU membership, as achieved with NATO, is canceled.

What does it mean to form a stable government, as reiterated by Brussels, but also from within and from neighbors and from those who know the responsibility and importance of both the executive and the legislature?

In the next four years, during the most difficult reforms and the reversible difficult conditions for EU membership, a stable government means a coalition between all Albanian parties and the winner of the SDSM elections, or a coalition of all Albanian parties in cooperation with the VMRO DPMNE.

Given the resistance and the barriers raised by VMRO DPMNE in every step along the way to the Euro-Atlantic integration, combined with the memories from the 11-year-old regime of Nikola Gruevski, then be no big conflictions should be expected around the coalition that should complete the project that kicked off after 15 years of exclusion.

Unfortunately, this is only the phenotype.

There are really difficult negotiations ahead that can lead to failure and to new elections, and cultivate a deeper political and economic crisis, calling into question the negotiations with the EU, the financial support of countries negotiating full EU membership and causing international frictions, incidents and divisions, resulting to a much more intense national homogenization of voters than in those elections, which will devalue future coalitions much more conditionally, even if the DUI wins 25 seats in parliament, compared to the 15 it holds today.

If understood, the main opposition of Hristjian Mickoski, the leader of VMRO DPMNE, towards these successes of Zoran Zaev and the SDSM, which he considered to be cases of betrayal and capitulation of the country, sale of the constitutional name, loss of national identity and language, erasure of the history and property of the Macedonian Revolution, non-recognition of the Macedonian language as a dialect of Bulgaria, the DUI ultimatum with ethnic conditions for the election of Prime Minister is incomprehensible, regardless of the election results but also the other activities Ali Ahmeti took over in an effort to overthrow Zoran Zaev, the winner of the elections.

DUI leader Ali Ahmeti took the first step in this direction the day after the elections, when he announced that he had spoken for the first time with BESA, Albania’s SDSM coalition partner, and then with other Albanian parties, seeking unity and to achieve the ultimate goal; electing an Albanian prime minister.

The message to Zaev is that the four Albanian BESA MPs, who have not yet ratified the seat, could end up in the DUI, so you better take a closer look and think while you are on “vacation”.

Ahmeti’s motives for ousting Zaev are not due to the tense and intense election campaign in which harsh words were exchanged between the two sides, with Zaev setting the tone by stating: “The DUI belongs to the main opposition” and “the DUI is not worth five dollars”, with Ahmeti clapping back: “After two brandies, Zaev does not really know what he is talking about”.

The reasons are much deeper and multi-layered. First, Prime Ministers Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras are interchangeably linked, both domestically and in the region, but also internationally, with the compromise reached to lift North Macedonia’s blockade from NATO and the EU, and to clear up a part of the quest for a glorious past, which the VMRO DPMNE and Nikola Gruevski led to the ancient times and the Alexander the Great.

The two prime ministers, Tsipras and Zaev, broke this obsession with antiquity and, through their courageous and historic decisions, fought the nationalists and the opponents, assumed the greatest responsibility for the disengagement of North Macedonia on its way to Europe, for which they paid a high price in the political field.

Zaev is that figure in North Macedonia who, through the Prespa Agreement and the Agreement with Bulgaria, received the greatest recognition in the world and the harshest intra-state criticism and demonization, as he was characterized as a traitor and was depicted as the monstrous man who signed the capitulation and deleted his own history and identity, the constitutional name and the Macedonian language.

The DUI and Ali Ahmeti, despite their strong support in Parliament for these policies, were not hit by a blow from their opposition, nor from the VMRO DPMNE, as it was Zaev and the SDSM that were exposed. In the election campaign, Ali Ahmeti, without facing any great obstacles, attributed all these shared successes with the SDSM, and most importantly with Zaev, to himself and the DUI, adamantly advertising that: if it wasn’t for us, we would not have the Prespa Agreement , the agreement with Bulgaria, we would not be a NATO member, nor would we have started negotiations with the EU this year. Too self-destructive even for a vain military commander in a political election campaign, where he usually lies more. /ibna