Counterspin: The two faces of VMRO-DPMNE – the Manifesto vs. the practice

 

We consider certain parts of VMRO-DPMNE’s Manifesto as spin, because it’s impossible for the same people from the party’s leadership to have been implementing policy contrary to their vision for Macedonia in the past eight years at least

 

Author: Teofil Blazhevski

 

VMRO-DPMNE’s Manifesto begins with this party’s vision for Macedonia, whose most important sections contain spins, which become obvious when one looks at the past actions of the same leading people:

Spin:  “In order to lead us to the VISION for our country which:

(…)

  • Considers the rule of law as fundamental prerequisite for success of the country and the individual as well.
  • Has open market economy, where everybody is inspired to learn not only for a diploma, but to acquire knowledge, develop abilities, innovate and take risks, therefore to manage to make his/her dream come true. The more citizens with such capacity, the more successful the country.
  • Nurtures good neighboring relations and inalterability of borders with everybody surrounding us, because that’s a precondition for peace and prosperity.
  • Emphasizes that the stability of the Republic of Macedonia is a prerequisite for the stability of the entire region,
  • Remembers who we’ve helped in times of struggle.
  • Builds a future based on respect of human rights, including the right of self-identification. Those who violate this right, cannot take it away from us…”

[Source: ВМРО- ДПМНЕ, Манифест, date: 02 April 2017]

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Counterspin:

The excerpt above covers several points from the chapter titled Vision for Macedonia, part of VMRO-DPMNE’s document named Manifesto. The party introduced it on 2 April 2017 and it is one of the series of documents that began springing up after the elections that took place on 11 December 2016.

The first one was named Proclamation, followed by Signpost, and now there is the Manifesto, which incorporates the Signpost as a guidebook for implementation of VMRO-DPMNE’s Vision and Mission. All of these documents are different, and some of them, like the Proclamation, or certain parts of it, are diametrically opposed to the Manifesto. We are now going to elaborate more on VMRO-DPMNE’s vision for Macedonia, given at the beginning of the Manifesto, which mostly is truth spinning or a spin.

 

VISION FOR STATE CAPTURE

The party’s vision for the state is the “rule of law”. This is a complete truth spinning because in the past 8 years at least, out of the ten they have been the protagonists of of the executive, and have been dominating the legislature and the judiciary, governance in Macedonia, the state has been turned into a state of non-law, which has been assessed as “state capture” by the European Commission in its last report. The state institutions function as party institutions. There is no need of arguing what’s been already argued in the assessments by the domestic experts, as well as international organizations and institutions. All you have to do is to throw a glance at the President of RM and his “creative” interpretation of the Constitution, instead of proper implementation, by not entrusting the mandate for formation of the government to the coalition that is a majority in the Parliament.

Or, have a look at the school director who calls high schoolers on protest because of political reasons, whilst the Inspectorate of Education from the corresponding Ministry finds no violation whatsoever. What about the disciplining of judges by a third judge who has been elected by a body called Judicial Council, which should be independent. Is there, by any means, “rule of law” due to the fact that for the first time in the history of the Republic of Macedonia, the Public Prosecution Office has intervened at the Supreme Court, soliciting annulment of a detention in a case under SPO’s jurisdiction for a suspected person that is on the run?!

 

STATE INSTEAD OF MARKET ECONOMY

The party’s vision that there is supposed to be “open market economy”, where everybody is inspired to learn not only for a diploma, but to acquire knowledge… to manage to make his/her dream come true.

The market economy is no way near the policy that VMRO-DPMNE, as executive power, has been implementing in the past 10 years.

This is confirmed by the aforementioned EC Country Report and by the Department of State’s last report on human rights and practices in Macedonia for 2016, which openly mentions corruption as well as pressure on companies imposed by state bodies.

Nevertheless, these reports comprise remarks that are rather familiar to the Macedonian public. Is it a market economy when inspection services and other institutions are misused for profits of some owner of a company, restaurant or even a newsagent? Is it a market economy if companies that bid on tenders announced by government institutions and public enterprises wait for their invoices to be paid, or if you are late with the VAT return? We are talking about tenders worth approximately 900 million euro each year. Is it a market economy if domestic companies are discriminated in favor of foreign ones by not receiving direct financial injections as big as the foreign investors in the free zones get?

When it comes to the transfer of practical knowledge so every young person could make his/her dream come true, the party should explain itself to the experts who persistently repeat their arguments about the poor education system, external testing, the opening of numerous faculties and devaluation of knowledge in the higher education… However, VMRO-DPMNE must explain how the “making the own dream come true” fits in their vision by requiring party membership or “your name should be in the notebook” as a precondition for plenty of employments in Macedonia?

We won’t spend much time explaining the vision for good neighboring relations, inalterability of the borders and similar phrases. We are only going to say that some policies which have been assessed as inimical by our neighbors (Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia as well) should not be forgotten. Afterward, during VMRO-DPMNE’s rule, we witnessed the demarcation of the border with Kosovo which means alteration of the previous demarcation agreement we had with Serbia. And finally, this part of the vision says that the party has a vision to “remember who we’ve helped in times of struggle”… The offered hand in times of struggle is a reflection of the overall state policy, not just temporary condolences. But the party’s Vision misses the second part of the sentence – it should be remembered who has offered Macedonia a hand in times of struggle! Since the independence through the natural disasters!

 

HUMAN RIGHTS – HOT AND COLD

At last, VMRO-DPMNE has a vision to build a future based on respect of “human rights” including the right of “self-identification”. If somebody still doesn’t have an idea how much human rights are respected in Macedonia, he/she should only look at Ombudsman’s last Annual report for 2016. Not the foreign reports of our partners, our friends, or the domestic of foreign NGOs that deal with this issue. Just that particular one. We hope the Ombudsman they have voted for as a representative of their coalition is an institution relevant enough to them.

These points from VMRO-DPMNE’s vision for Macedonia, incorporated in the Manifesto – their document of strategic meaning, are actually the fundamental parts of the Copenhagen Criteria, which have been adopted by the EU as preconditions for a country to even start accession negotiations.

Because of everything aforementioned, we believe the sections of the vision in VMRO-DPMNE’s Manifesto are spun truth or a spin, because it’s impossible for the same people from the party’s leadership to have been implementing policy contrary to their vision for Macedonia, in the past eight years at least.

 


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.

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