Former and long-time prime minister and leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski, has new offices in the “Paloma Bianca” shopping mall, which is fifty meters away from the lavish headquarters of the opposition party in downtown Skopje that was erected in Baroque style during his time of rule.
VMRO-DPMNE confirms that its former leader does not have an office in the “White Palace”, where he reportedly appeared only once in the last three and a half months, after the change of the party’s leadership, that is, after Hristijan Mickoski was elected as the new party leader. The party says that Gruevski is always welcome in the party center, and that he will be provided with an office at any time.
Employees in the “Paloma Bianca” mall confirmed yesterday that Gruevski rented offices in this building. However, at the entrance of the office, located on the third floor, there is no sign. There are only security cameras, security stickers and a mailbox. Our interlocutors say that Gruevski came there often, but not every day, and from time to time some of his associates also appeared. But during our visit, the office was closed.
Premises are not always open at the same time, but there are people hanging around every day,” employees in “Paloma Bianca” say.
Although he is not the prime minister for more than two years, Gruevski is now using part of the state privileges as a former president of the government, ie he has six bodyguards, official car and driver available. This was made possible by the law that was adopted about five years ago, when the majority in parliament was controlled by VMRO-DPMNE. It was then planned that the former prime minister would use these benefits for as long as he was in office, in contrast to earlier when this deadline was only one year. Accordingly, Gruevski should be entitled to a 24-hour security and a driver until 2026.
After resigning from his front seat in VMRO-DPMNE, Gruevski cannot be seen frequently in the public. Perhaps, his only appearance outside the courtrooms at the Criminal Court in Skopje, where he was led by several procedures initiated by the SPO, was the conflict with Speaker Talat Xhaferi when adopting the Law on the Use of Languages.
Some time ago, Gruevski, coming out of a court hearing, said he did not want to interfere with the decisions and policies of the new leadership of VMRO-DPMNE. Estimates are that this is also one of the reasons for his moving to another location – to give the impression that he is at a decent distance from the new governing structures of the opposition party.
At the congress in Valandovo, Gruevski was named honorary president of VMRO-DPMNE. His predecessor, Ljubco Georgievski, won the same title in 2003 in Ohrid. However, Georgievski at that time received special offices in the then modest party headquarters. Later, the animosity between Gruevski and Georgievski arose from that “neighborhood”.
Gruevski reappeared yesterday with an extensive status on his Facebook profile, which, in fact, scoffs at government officials for using the baroque objects of the Skopje 2014 project, whose construction was strongly criticized while in opposition.
The government has held a press conference on the budget in the new parliament room on the new upgraded floor, which was part of the Skopje 2014 project. Until yesterday they cursed and said that it was unproductive spending of money. Now, instead of paying for the halls of private hotels, the conference was held in this new, large and representative hall for such occasions, for which, now they have nothing bad to say,” Gruevski wrote.
Then he states that the ministers of foreign affairs, agriculture, finance, and the employees of the Prosecutor’s Office and the State Audit Office did not complain about the new buildings build during his time in power. Only, according to Gruevski, the Minister of Transport and Communications and the director of ELEM, whose new premises were ready for moving in, were confused, they did not know how to move in now, as he says, after so much talking against the administration buildings that the former government built…
Otherwise, the “Paloma Bianca” mall was one of the objects on the map of “Skopje 2014” which were to be “dressed” in baroque. However, the started activities were stopped by the new city mayor. Petre Silegov stopped the construction for new stylistic facades for 95 objects, including the building of “Paloma Bianca”.
The project “Skopje 2014” also refers to one of the cases of the SPO – “Tenders”, where the former Minister of Culture Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska is the principal defendant. (A.M.M.)… / IBNA