IBNA Op-Ed/Populism for the people or for political credit?

IBNA Op-Ed/Populism for the people or for political credit?

By Sonja Stojadinovic

The last 11 years in Macedonia have been mixed with a provincial type, xenophobic and social-economic populism, which has nothing to do with the interests and needs of the people, but with those who submit to the will of the elites. Macedonian politics is flooded by political stunts, where one often hears reactions, comments and accusations. This political concept is exploited by all political sides, the left, the right and the center.

Rural populism is present through campaigns, when political parties visit villages and abuse with subsidiary policies for farmers.

Meanwhile, social-economic and xenophobic populism has reached its peak. Populist methods to increase birthrates through campaigns and social aid for couples who give birth to the third child, was one of the most frequent applied measures by the last government. This measure resulted in the birth of 20 thousand children, the families of which are on social allowance.

Children and youngsters are being educated based on the Cambridge and Bologna system, but they are learning in schools with no heating and leaking roofs.

The free books that the government distributes offer no knowledge, they offer discrimination and this is hard to uproot, because when children grow up, they will act based on the principle: this is how the teacher taught us and this was written on the book.

Macedonia is the first state in Central Europe said to have a development economy, but with a healthcare system in ruins. In two months, there have been 600 cases of death in Skopje alone and the Pension Fund has no money to pay for the funerals of these people. Populism in Macedonia is a toxic combination of agrarian populism which exploits the will of the people for political needs.

This populism doesn’t see the real needs of the citizens, but the interests of the elites. But there are no elites. In essence, we have primitive provincialism, mixed with aggressiveness and arrogance, to conceal incompetence that is present everywhere. This has culminated with xenophobic declarations against a particular ethnicity, in order for the responsible for this insanity to be searched among an external factor.

No political rhetoric can be considered healthy and be accepted by the citizens. Criticism and the control imposed on the measures taken by the government lead to a fall in populism. This phenomenon cannot be uprooted, but its expansion can be reduced.

*The author is a political expert from Skopje and activist of civil society

** The opinion of the author doesn’t necessarily represent IBNA’s editorial line