Sunday, July 27, 2008

Commentary Says It's Time for Macedonian Opposition to Stand Against Government

In view of the recently published report on VMRO-DPMNE's [Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity] intention to hold an early local election with a view to winning local authority in all the municipalities, it is becoming clear that Gruevski's top priority is to make the SDSM [Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia] perish. After all, this is what he promised, using the exact same words, in his speeches before the election. But, this is not all. The statement that "the SDSM should be knocked down" in order to be reformed and that it should become a constructive and patriotic opposition in the country can also be attributed to him. The SDSM should be concerned in view of these "humane," "politically mature," moderate, and "patriotic" ideas of this country's favourite politician, which are already being referred to as "Grujovisms [reference to premier's surname akin to Stalinism]." If somebody as politically powerful as Gruevski wishes that you perish and works on this using all available means, in a country where the institutions of the system and rule of law are not particularly strong and capable of offering protection, then this might as well happen to you.

Therefore, having lost the parliamentary election that was carried out through the model of an early election, the SDSM should now acknowledge that it is dealing with somebody who can be described as a "political serial killer." The latter first kills the opposition's Assembly caucus, moving on to the mayors from the opposition's ranks, and finally, probably gets the country's president.

As is usually the case with serial killers, the analysts will probably discover that the reason for his great frustration with the opposition, which he wishes would perish, was that his mother or father were members of the SDSM (or the SKM [Alliance of Macedonia's Communists] or the KPJ [Communist Party of Yugoslavia]). They molested him as a child, so he wants to take his revenge on all those who remind him of them. Alternatively, the analysts will decide that this is his inherent trait. Given that his mother possesses four flats, whereas he himself does not have a single one, such a showdown is highly likely. Joking aside, it is a given fact that as long as Gruevski is the main political actor in Macedonia, President Branko Crvenkovski and the SDSM as a whole are right to be concerned. For, as far as Gruevski and before him, Ljubco Georgievski [former prime minister] are concerned, "the whole must have all its parts in order to be a whole."

The political circumstances are playing into Gruevski's hands and helping him achieve his objective. When they are not to his benefit, he turns them to be. Following Greece's veto in Bucharest, it was easy to reinforce the nation's indignation with Europe, Greece, and even the United States. It was easy to say to your own people, "we are the good ones, but the others do not understand what is good." It was easy to raise nationalist euphoria in the form of a defensive nationalism, presenting and treating as traitors all those who do not share your opinion. It was easy to create a patriotic front similar to the Socialist people's front, which used to defend us from the enemies of Communism. As some journalists would say, this is patriotic hysteria and piracy.

Nevertheless, knowing the reasons for this situation does not help the SDSM. Gruevski has convinced almost half a million people that he could save us from the bad Greeks, poverty, criminals, as well as from "the Albanians' excessive appetites." He comfortably adopted the image of a saviour and national hero deserving of a wag figure in the museum that is to be built in Skopje.

Realistically speaking, the SDSM does not stand chances against him until it manages systematically to shatter this lie. This lie may persist for some time, just as was the case in Serbia during Milosevic. However, exposing the lie will not suffice, for Gruevski will be quick to come out with a Milosevic-style slogan, "Who could ever replace me?"

The SDSM will have to demonstrate that it is a realistic alternative to this policy.

First of all, it will have to start believing in itself, so that others can believe it. In order to have others believe it, the SDSM should not imitate the VMRO-DPMNE. It should emphasize its distinctness and demonstrate its capacity to tackle the challenges of this era. Macedonia does not need yet another Gruevski - what it needs is an alternative.

The "For European Macedonia" coalition, which received the support of 230,000 voters, should quickly demonstrate that it has the capacity and knowledge to use its power to defend democratic principles in the country. Just like human rights and liberties, democracy also must be defended when under threat.

The SDSM should focus on safeguarding rule of law and civic liberties. This does not finish at Macedonia's borders and Gruevski must know this (or should be told so). His sovereignty is limited and he cannot turn into a dictator of a country that is a candidate for EU membership. He is under constant monitoring by those in Brussels, whom he already treats as Macedonia's enemies (just like Ljubco Georgievski used to). He must be forced to realize that he cannot abuse state funds without accounting for his expenditures without an end. His economic reforms, which serious economists consider as economic ignorance, rather than reformism, must be subject to ridicule.

Gruevski should be given the chance to repeat as often as possible that he works too much, that he is honest, unyielding, and concerned, and that his revival is constantly being expanded, upgraded, and effected. The receipts as to who is paying for the self-advertizing of his party-state, whose money is used, what the objective is, and who profits should follow each of his statements and advertizing campaigns.

There is hope for the opposition. Whenever it comes to power, the VMRO-DPMNE promises to rule for the next 100 years, which is why its programme consists of 100 steps. However, the party has never progressed further than the second or third step because of double- dribble, and consequently, the referee sends it out. At the moment, it is at the second step. The SDSM as a party and as part of a coalition with so many professors, doctors, ambassadors, former ministers, mayors, and other serious people with solid careers should not be intimidated by Gruevski, Jankuloska, or Stavreski. Before taking office, the latter were totally anonymous in this country. All it will take [for the SDSM] is some spite, consciousness, and the willingness to change the situation.

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