Counter-spin: Citizens’ will is obvious indeed – they want in EU and NATO through the Prespa Agreement

The referendum was consultative and the only definite fact is more than 600 thousand that voted “for”. The MPs, on the other hand, by the Constitution have the right to decide whether they will pay heed to the ones who voted, the ones who actually exist, or to the ones for whom they don’t know whether they are actually in the country or what their stance is – “for” or “against”. But, it’s clear the MPs should express themselves independently, without pressure of any sort.

The referendum was consultative and the only definite fact is more than 600 thousand that voted “for”. The MPs, on the other hand, by the Constitution have the right to decide whether they will pay heed to the ones who voted, the ones who actually exist, or to the ones for whom they don’t know whether they are actually in the country or what their stance is – “for” or “against”. But, it’s clear the MPs should express themselves independently, without pressure of any sort

 

Author:Teofil Blazhevski

 

VMRO-DPMNE’s press release about the parliamentary procedure on the constitutional amendments contains a spin:

Spin: On 30 September, 1.2 million citizens of the Republic of Macedonia said “no” to the change of the name, identity, language and history, no to the giving up on the Macedonian minority in the neighboring countries. The citizens said no to the capitulatory Prespa Agreement and the surrender of the state and the national interests with the sole aim of saving Zoran Zaev’s political career.

Each MP is elected by the citizens to represent them and their will, and citizens’ will is obviuos – they do not accept the capitulation called the Prespa Agreement.

[Source: VMRO-DPMNE, website, date: 10 October 2018]

 

Counter-spin: Weeks after the referendum, the oppositional VMRO-DPMNE, all of its high representatives and supporters have been continuously making one spin about citizens’ will expressed in the referendum to the extent that begs the question whether the Macedonian public lives in universe and reality parallel to party’s?

While VMRO-DPMNE sees citizens’ will in one light, the rest of the world, including the 70+ deputies in the Parliament, see it alltogether differently. But regardless this, VMRO-DPMNE continues with the spin about the citizens’ will and persistently claims that 1.2 million voters said clear “no” to the “capitulatory Prespa Agreement”.

Since they persistently give incorrect statements, several things have to be repeated, for the sake of the public.

 

WHOEVER KNOWS TO READ MINDS?

VMRO-DPMNE has to tell if they have evidence or indications that those who didn’t cast their vote did so because they are against the Prespa Agreement or because of something else? Given that there are citizens who abstain from any type of voting, people who simply weren’t interested in casting their vote, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are against the agreement.

Second, out of the rest who didn’t vote in the referendum, how many of them were able to do it and how many simply weren’t? Seasonal agricultural work, students studying away from their hometowns, business trips in the country or abroad etc.

Third, how many of them didn’t cast their vote due to the misinformation by VMRO-DPMNE about the facts in the Prespa Agreement i.e. how many of them have been misinformed or slightly informed, which, on the other hand, is something that the ruling coalition has to be held responsible for?

Fourth, out of those who wanted to vote, how many of them didn’t because of the public and covert threats even to the highest party representatives after appearing in the media, which turned into dismissals from office after the referendum. The party should also tell how many of these citizens there were? How many, for example, didn’t cast their vote because of the claims that everyone that does so is a traitor or maybe because one day prior the referendum they saw the disgraceful and harrowing sights of pressure against Macedonian citizens who wanted to vote in Australia?

 

CLAIMING INEXISTENT VOTES

Plenty of arguments can be given. But one thing is certain. Nobody has the right to claim those who didn’t vote as confirmation of their own political stances i.e. that they are against the Prespa Agreement. On the other hand, more than 600 thousand voters said “Yes” to the Agreement. Not only that the ruling coalition has the right to interpret them as majority’s will (regardless of the turnout, the referendum was consultative) but also the opposition party has no right to multiply them by zero, as if they don’t exist, just as Gjorge Ivanov recently did.

With that said, we come to the the spin pointed towards the parliamentarians – that they have to refuse the constitutional amendments, because citizens’ will was clear… Yes, just like VMRO-DPMNE says, each and everyone of the MPs “is elected by the citizens to represent them and their will, and citizens’ will is clear.” The will of more than 600 thousand citizens who embrace the EU and NATO through the Prespa Agreement is clear.

Finally, the referendum was consultative. The MPs on the other hand, by the Constitution have the right to decide whether they will pay heed to the ones who voted, the ones who actually exist, or to the ones for whom they don’t know whether they are actually in the country or what their stance is – “for” or “against”. But, it’s clear the MPs should express themselves independently, without pressure of any sort. Not with a spin that 1.2 million citizens made themselves loud and clear, that’s for sure.

 


This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.