One is through the acceptance of the constitutional amendments, with which we become the Republic of North Macedonia in order to open our country’s path to NATO membership, to start the EU membership accession talks and thus to enter into an alliance with the richest and most democratically developed countries in the world.
And the second is through the insufficient majority in the Assembly to accept the amendments of the Constitution, let’s miss this opportunity now and thus declare victory of the forces that are supposedly also for Macedonia’s membership in NATO and the EU, but not now and not under these conditions. These are the political forces that convince us that “after the signing of the current agreement with Greece” they will not be able to reach a better agreement with the neighboring country, but they do not accept this agreement, and they, after they come to power in Macedonia, in a distant future, will discuss better conditions under which the country would join NATO in the EU. Hence, the MPs in the Parliament, all parties and all ethnic communities in Macedonia, will be making decisions this time on who they trust more, in which direction the country will go and what will happen in it in the years to come.
Despite all attempts at political reconciliation, Macedonia has been deeply divided into two political camps for quite some time.
One of them, who currently makes the parliamentary majority and the progressive public, for the first time after 28 years of independence of Macedonia, is trying to practice politics as “an art for perceiving the possible” in achieving the country’s set strategic goals.
This political camp is aware of the risks it takes with its political decisions, the real relation of the forces in the Macedonian Parliament, in Greece in the Balkans and in the world. It is aware of the opportunities that arise in resolving the difficult issues, but the possible consequences for the country by not letting the possibility of resolving a difficult dispute, which not only keeps the country in isolation, but in time, without solving it, can to move in the opposite direction from the one everyone is expecting. This camp believes that settling disputes with neighbors is the most important reform that can happen to Macedonia and that without this reform, it will be much more difficult to reform according to Priebe in the judicial system, in the police force, and even in the economy.
The second political campaign led by the right-wing VMRO-DPMNE, assisted by President Gjorge Ivanov, sells the story that “everything is possible in politics, as long as you want it to be.”
In that story, according to Hristijan Mickoski, “it does not matter if you are a small or a big country,” but it is important whether you are right according to international norms. Whether you are a fighter and ready to die if needed, in order to defend your ideals. Macedonia is not small, he said. When international law is on your side, nobody can do anything to you. And from here, the key virtue of a nation is to defend it with the ultimate powers or to fight to the last man, for what he considers his own, sacred, without even mentioning that someone else, what you consider as your own, he also considers it his own, and what is sacred to you, is sacred to him as well.
This is why there is irreconcilability between the two camps. The former cannot accept delaying solutions for “some better days” and demonstrating of “uncompromising” in defending “sacred national goals,” and the latter does not want to accept that someone has managed to resolve a dispute which it still finds unsolvable. The second political camp loses the meaning of its existence if its “internal and external enemies” disappear overnight and if no one is to blame for national treason.
In this political process, Macedonia’s political scene is deeply divided into two options.
One, offered by Zoran Zaev and his team, makes efforts to restore citizens’ hope in the European perspective of the country. This option runs politics with confidence in its moves and confidence in its political partners at home and abroad. The political forces behind it are aware of their political power and their exposure to blackmail to achieve a two-thirds majority in the Assembly, but also about the possible criticism that they should not allow in the process of achieving the great goal by disregarding the rule of law, causing some of the major culprits of the political violence that occurred before the change of government to stay unpunished.
Zaev and his team decided to consciously use the instrument to forgive the guilt for committed political violence by individuals in the previous government in order to secure the required majority in the Assembly for the country’s major political step. This act was designated as an act of reconciliation in the country, which should help in the key reconciliation process with its neighbors. And quite decisively, in spite of all criticism, they said that with each of their acts they want to believe that Macedonia can build its own future, instead of constantly complaining about its “damned destiny”.
All this is an attempt for replacing the “Calimero” mentality among Macedonian citizens and politicians, who constantly complain that “there is no justice”, with a mentality of a person who knows that with that constant whining one does not solve things in real life. And that instead of excuses, bold solutions and answers are needed. It is an attempt to replace the skepticism of citizens with optimism, mistrust with confidence, fear with hope, and political uncertainty with greater certainty.
The other political option, which is now led by Mickoski and Ivanov, only sees “darkness” in everything the first option does. This option sees a world conspiracy against Macedonia and the Macedonian people. It spreads further on, as in the 19th century, the fear of national deprivation, fear of losing the country, fear of neighbors, the “Babylonian harlot”, fear of Albanians, of the vaccines, of Soros and the “secret associations and agreements” which they are the only ones capable to reveal.
And therefore not only don’t they want to be part of what is happening today in Macedonia, but they work with all their strength to fail and prevent it. They are the last remaining Macedonians and the only ones who love Macedonia. All other people who do not trust them are national traitors with Albanians and the West against the “real interests” of Macedonia and the Macedonians. They do not offer a solution. They just know this one is not good. And they are convinced that only by changing the “non-government power” the “darkness” will disappear from Macedonia.
These two political forces will collide in the Assembly of Macedonia in a few days. Opportunities for real political reconciliation in Macedonia will be revealed during the vote on the adoption of the amendments.
The decision will show the level of political maturation of the parties in Macedonia and the ability of each elected MP, from any political party, to stand on the right side of Macedonia’s history.
All we can do now is hope and believe that a society that succeeded in removing Gruevski’s regime from power, which was nested in all the pores of society and controlled every segment of politics, would find strength to achieve this most important political goal to which it dedicated all its attention and energy so far. Not everyone has to believe that the Earth is round. Not everyone wants to see the difference between these two political options and be convinced that they are not exactly the same. Not everyone has to realize that Zaev’s difficult position is immoral and harmful in securing a majority for this decade-long step to use the country for the pursuit of petty nationalist points. And not all citizens have to open their eyes if they only want to see “darkness”. And that is a right that is secured by democracy.