North Macedonia: Inauguration in the shadow of the absent

North Macedonia: Inauguration in the shadow of the absent

Erol Rizaov

The public in North Macedonia should know the truth why Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski and presidential candidate Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova did not attend the inauguration of the first President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski.

The government said Zaev took four days off. Whether Mickoski and Siljanovska really did not receive invitations to attend the official ceremony are not ordinary and banal protocol questions for the entertainment sections of the newspapers and social media about who attended and who didn’t, how they were dressed etc. The unjustified and deliberate absence, or the obstructed presence, of the aforementioned persons of the president’s taking oath of office in the Parliament, reeks of shameful primitivism, and is not good for the reputation of the country. The guests from overseas senior state officials and the diplomatic corps, the MPs present, watched the ceremonial act in a way that clearly indicates the significance of the event. The absence of some of the hosts shows the immaturity and the dark side of the Macedonian conditions.

I do not know whether Hristijan Mickoski and Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova would have been present at the inauguration of the country’s President Stevo Pendarovski, but they should have received official and personal invitations. Mickoski as the head of the party and leader of the opposition, and Siljanovska as Pendarovski’s opponent. And Prime Minister Zoran Zaev should not have had a more important things to do than being in the Assembly in the first row, on his designated seat. Zaev’s message sent to Pendarovski while using vacation days is like an excuse a student uses when skipping classes. In the case of Mickoski and Siljanovska, the government scored two auto goals in the Champions League final. In an already won match, the authorities shot two auto goals in their own net and provided a great excuse for Mickoski and Siljanovska not to come where they would not have come even if they had three invitations. Avoiding to congratulate the winner of the fair elections does not leave room to believe that they would have attended the event. Congratulating the winner of the elections would be an acknowledgment for the legitimacy of the elections, and the presence of the inauguration is the acceptance of the reality that Pendarovski is now the President of the Republic of North Macedonia. It would be too much even for Davkova, not to mention Mickoski. To their great joy, not receiving invitations, if it is true, saves them from this discomfort, and let’s them avoid the event of the new president’s taking oath. Ultimately, if the president of the party that proposed and supported Stevo Pendarovski uses vacation days, why should Mickoski and Siljanovska be in the Parliament?

Respecting the state protocol on every occasion is much more than a routine. It is one of the most precise grounds for measuring the level of statehood, it is a part of the culture and attitude towards the homeland, it is a working and sacred obligation of all who are obliged to be present at events that symbolize statehood. If it’s not written in the state protocol, and if it is not conducted to the tiniest detail, you will get a charlatan’s parade. Such scenes of improvisation and non-compliance with the state protocol are very common in Macedonia. The last time it happened was when the NATO flag was erected in front of the government building when some public figures did not like their seats and the people sitting next to them, so they decided to stay home. Also during the intonation of the national anthem at the event.

The protocol during the visit of Pope Francis was remarkable on a world level that was praised and that made us proud, but at the same time it indicates that there were strict requirements of the Vatican, which had to be implemented to the tiniest detail without exceptions. But when it comes to our Balkan customs, stubbornness and vanities, our attitude towards the state and towards what is written and unwritten rule of manners and upbringing to be respected to the tiniest of details, every state protocol to be understand you really need to love your homeland and be a patriot. In our country patriotism is exaggerated and twisted, even a justified offensive category, which means only a fight for power and the robbery of one’s own country and citizens.

Let’s hope that this ugly picture painted by those inexcusably absent at the President’s inauguration would be a good opportunity to make the state protocol more precise, and its violation to signify a great inexplicable embarrassment./ibna

(Nezavisen Vesnik)