Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ljubomir Frckovski: There are no reasons why the new Macedonian government should not be stable

Ljubomir Frckovski is a Professor of international Law at St. St. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. He was an advisor of human rights and constitutional issues of the late Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski. Consecutively, he was Interior Minister and then Foreign Minister during the government of the Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (SDSM). He actively participated in drawing up the Ohrid Agreement, which was signed on Aug. 13th, 2001. Mr. Frckovski has been kind to answer a few questions of FOCUS News Agency.

FOCUS: Mr. Frckovski, how does the process of formation of a new government in Macedonia progress? What is the distribution of the political forces and how do you estimate the role and participation of the parties from the Albanian bloc in this process?
Ljubomir Frckovski: The Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), being a party that won most Albanian votes in the parliamentary elections in Macedonia and that took part in such elections for the first time, can’t accept the fact that VMRO-DPMNE’s ally is the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA). Because of that, DUI is anxious and is trying to stay in power even in a comparatively shameful situation, in it has two ministers, shares ministerial posts with DPA, which are envisaged for the Albanians. International representatives try to support DUI, but the society and the intellectual circle has opposed more seriously to the insistence on DUI’s joining the government. The mandate bearer should be allowed to choose its allies under normal conditions. VMRO-DPMNE’s traditional ally is Arben Xhaferi’s DPA. It’s a normal ideological alliance, no matter whether DUI likes it or not. I also backed openly the normal functioning of coalitions after the elections. DUI’s protests are rather a way to gradually assume the role of an opposition. Formally, DUI understands the situation and starts to function in that way. It organizes rallies, which are just formal for now. The Social Democrats have to help DUI, so that they can form together the oppositional bloc. International representatives are right in convincing DUI not to leave institutions. I expect a normalization of the political process, instead of turbulence.
With respect to VMRO-DPMNE and DPA, the situation is comparatively clear. They have reached an agreement. They could hardly hope for a quiet existence in the first 100 days of the government having in mind the presence of a strong opposition. There will be comments and pressure from the Albanian and Macedonian side. However, they have to be given the chance of showing what they can do.

FOCUS: What do you expect from the new government?
Ljubomir Frckovski: Macedonia has already taken a path, which is comparatively determined. I can’t assess the team of VMRO-DPMNE, because it consists of comparatively new people without earlier positions as ministers or positions in politics. So, I can’t forecast their behaviour. There is a pressure related to the necessity of reforms and fight against corruption. But we are going to see whether they will be strong enough to achieve that. Macedonia is faced with a critical year. But it is very important for the country to reach a progress in the economic reforms. The country has access to more EU funds now. So, the society will not be ready to stay tolerant and wait too much. Economy has to progress. Otherwise, the situation will become very turbulent.

FOCUS: What domestic priorities should the new government have?
Ljubomir Frckovski: An absolute priority is the influx of fresh money into the system, greenfield investments and credit lines, which would boost small- and medium-sized business. If larger projects are launched, there won’t be time for their realization.

FOCUS: What is the place of the Ohrid Agreement among the tasks of the new government?
Ljubomir Frckovski: The Ohrid Agreement can’t be shaken. It’s an agreement, which experts consider to be one of the most successful ones and which solves such kinds of problems. The agreement is also considered to be well-balanced and aimed at establishing a state, instead of leading to its ethnic disintegration, although it is often criticized with a view to this. The agreement defends the unitary nature of the state, and at the same time opens the door to inclusion of “differences” in the system. The agreement turned out to be a functional framework. Two more bills are due to be passed in relation to the implementation of the agreement. The process of inclusion of Albanians in the state administration will continue. Furthermore, 90% of the normative requirements of the Ohrid Agreement have been realized.
The Ohrid agreement exists as an agreement with definite requirements and as a symbol of successful negotiating. We can speak of the spirit of the Ohrid Agreement. Each problem, which it hasn’t envisaged, is to be solved in the spirit of the Ohrid Agreement, that is, in the spirit of negotiating under a strong international presence. There should be a foreign arbiter, who could calm down possible ethnic disagreements. The new government doesn’t have to question this methodology and will continue implementing it together with another Albanian ally from the other side.

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