Vlatko Gjorchev’s presidential race – the politician who doesn’t like to lose, even in basketball

Photo: vmro-dpmne.org.mk

Vlatko Gjorchev has many years of political experience under his belt and although his views, rhetoric, and even the theatrical speeches can be disputed, he is still one of the rare public figures of VMRO-DPMNE without any illegal background and also cannot be labeled as an anti-European. However, he never made the bold move to distance himself from the pernicious policies of his former leader Nikola Gruevski

Vlatko Gjorchev has many years of political experience under his belt and although his views, rhetoric, and even the theatrical speeches can be disputed, he is still one of the rare public figures of VMRO-DPMNE without any illegal background and also cannot be labeled as an anti-European. However, he never made the bold move to distance himself from the pernicious policies of his former leader Nikola Gruevski

 

Author: Olivera Vojnovska

VMRO-DPMNE’s MP, Vlatko Gjorchev, is the first one who has decided to speak publicly about his ambitions for running for the office of the head of the state. On 23 January 2019, he announced that he had submitted his application for VMRO-DPMNE’s presidential candidate to the open competition that ends on 31 January 2019.

Gjorchev has a degree in political science and he turned 40 last August, thus he has fulfilled the legal minimum for running for President. He’s married to Suzana Pitri, an American from Ohio with whom he has four children: Marta (8), Filip, (6), Nikola (5) and Katerina (2).

Though he is young, he’s been active on the political scene for more than 20 years. He became a member of VMRO-DPMNE in 1996. It was in 1997 when the general public first heard of Gjorchev during the student protest over the use of the Albanian language at the Faculty of Pedagogy in Skopje. His breakthrough in politics began back then, starting from the structures of VMRO-DPMNE and later went on to become he party’s spokesperson (2001-2004). Since 1997, he’s been a member of VMRO-DPMNE’s Foreign Affairs Committee. At that time, he became an associate of the former President Boris Trajkovski, and was his personal assistant during the presidential elections in 1999. Since 2004 Gjorchev has been a member of VMRO-DPMNE’s Executive Committee and he has been occupying the position of VMRO-DPMNE’s International secretary for quite a while now.

LOYAL TO ALL LEADERS OF VMRO-DPMNE BUT WITHOUT ANY CRIMINAL BACKGROUND

For 13 years now, Gjorcev has been a deputy in the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia in five terms. He was elected deputy for the first time in 2006 and had four terms afterwards in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2016 (when Macedonia entered the vortex of snap general elections). In all elections since 2006 onward, Gjorchev has been the bearer of the candidate list in the third or sixth constituency and takes credit for VMRO-DPMNE’s electoral victories. Nonetheless, besides being an MP, he didn’t have any other functions during the decade-long rule of VMRO-DPMNE and wasn’t a part of Gruevski’s governments.

All these years, Gjorchev has been zealous in his defense of VMRO-DPMNE’s policies. His views have always been in line with the general policy of the party, regardless of its leader. With the same recognizable zealousness, he advocated for the party’s positions as a spokesperson during Ljubcho Georgievski’s time, as an MP in the Parliament during the 11-year-rule of Gruevski, and remained loyal to the new leadership led by Hristijan Mickoski, and also was an acting coordinator of the parliamentary party group for a short period of time.

Vlatko Gjorchev has many years of political experience under his belt and although his views, rhetoric, and even the theatrical speeches can be disputed, he is still one of the rare public figures of VMRO-DPMNE without any illegal background and also cannot be labeled as an anti-European.

However, he never made that bold move to distance himself from the pernicious policies of his former leader Nikola Gruevski. This is why he’s criticized by his political rivals, the social-democrats, who denounce him as “being part of VMRO-DPMNE for more than 20 years but is silent about all criminal and lethal policies of his party”.

HE DEFENDED THE ATTACKED MPs WITH HIS PERSON

Nevertheless, it’s fair to say that Gjorchev played an extraordinarily positive role in the bloody incident in the Parliament on 27 April 2017, when he defended the attacked MPs and colleagues selflessly and with his person and helped rescue them and guide them outside Parliament’s building. For this act, he was praised publicly by SDSM’s and DUI’s MPs. During one of the hearings about this event, the social-democrat Hari Lokvenec testified that “Gjorchev treated them as his own children, trying to protect them from any kind of danger”.

The thing I saw in his eyes cannot be acted, he did all of that from the bottom of his heart, Lokvenec said before the Court.

Photo: Print screen

 

HE DOESN’T WANT TO LOSE, EVEN IN BASKETBALL

In a press conference held on 23 January 2019, when Gjorchev announced that he’s running for President, he told his political opponents:

Defeat, that I do not accept. I have been victorious in all 5 elections as a bearer of the candidate list. I hold all winning records. On 21 April at 21:00 we spent half an hour pronouncing the names of the places where we won.

While being aware that he cannot win the elections without the support of the Albanian electorate, Gjorchev used this opportunity to send the Albanians a message too::

The hand of friendship is extended, we live together, let’s help ourselves have a better life.

In an interview with Nezavisen Vesnik, Gjorchev would say: “I don’t want to lose in street basketball, let alone presidential elections.”

Photo: Vlatko Gjorchev’s Facebook profile

The final word whether Vlatko Gjorchev, who has been tireless in building a profile of a conservative politician who sticks to tradition, religion and family values, will enter the presidential race on 21 April, belongs to the 550 delegates who will cast their vote in secret at the Struga convention on 16 February.

Still, public’s general opinion is that party’s leader, Hristijan Mickocki, will have the last say, although his public appearances leave the impression of neutrality regarding this issue. In his last interview with the national TV station, Mickoski didn’t want to take sides and commended the two potential candidates of VMRO-DPMNE (Gjorchev and professor Gordana Siljanovska). He also used this opportunity to compare Gjorchev with the Italian football player Francesco Totti:

Vlatko Gjorchev is VMRO-DPMNE’s Totti. Started in the Union of Youth Forces and went all the way to the seniors. He is a great added value to the party, undisputed fighter, loyalist. I can say nothing but the best for him…, Mickoski said.

Meanwhile, Gjorchev got the endorsement of multiple public figures of VMRO-DPMNE like the MP Antonijo Miloshoski, the former MP and ambassador to China and Malta, Oliver Shambevski, the former MP Aleksandar Spasenovski, the family of the former Speaker Ljubisha Georgievski as well as the twin brother of the former President Boris Trajkovski, Mojsej.

All comments and remarks regarding this and other Vistinomer articles, correction and clarification requests as well as suggestions for fact-checking politicians’ statements and political parties’ promises can be submitted by using this form

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.