Counter-spin: “Hybrid regime” is better than a “captured state”

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At the party’s press conference, VMRO-DPMNE leader, Hristijan Mickoski, tried to manipulate the public and produce a spin, accusing his political opponents Zoran Zaev and SDSM of governing via “hybrid regime”. And, of course, he completely “forgot” to point out that when his party was in power, until just a few years ago, their way of governing was not only assessed as a “hybrid regime” (and with far worse rank), but also as a “captured state”.

SPIN: The Economist assesses the governing in Macedonia as a hybrid regime. An extremely disastrous assessment of the rule of law and the legal state. We are on the move to what is described as an authoritarian regime in which Zoran Zaev steers the country. And, of course, you will not hear this in the expensive government videos, but all of the citizens live in Zaev’s hybrid regime.

[Source:  Hristijan Mickoski – press conference, date: 23. January, 2020]



Of course, you will not hear such a thing. Such a statement is neither present in the “expensive government videos” (?), nor anywhere else, because no one else in the country or in the world would say such a thing. Why? Because everything that is said by Mickoski in this statement is а spin, and because it is a matter of simple manipulation.

In this year’s EIU Democracy Index (for 2019), prepared by the ”Economist Intelligence Unit-EIU” and not by the weekly “Economist”, which is published by another EIU sister company, North Macedonia is one place higher compared to last year and is now 77th place out of 167 countries. North Macedonia is ahead of Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia, but behind Serbia. Just as the country improved its ranking in the 2019 survey (published yesterday), it also achieved a better ranking in the 2018 survey, when it rose from 88th to 78th place, and did the same in the 2017 survey when from the previous 95th place it climbed to the 88th. This simply means that in all three surveys – for 2017, 2018 and 2019 – years when SDSM is in power, North Macedonia is consistently improving its ranking on the EIU’s Democracy Index. The situation has improved so much since 2016 the jump is 18 places up (i.e. Macedonia has overcome that many countries) over a period of 3 years.

Graph: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2020

This is all contrary to VMRO-DPMNE’s reign or the dramatic decline in the 2015 ranking when the country dropped from 78th to 95th place. As it is well known, 2015 is the year when the wiretapping scandal became public, after which the European Commission in its Annual Progress Report for the country in 2016 called it a “captured state”. In the past 3 years of governing, the current government has managed to regain the same ranking as in 2015 (78th place) and even improve it by one position this year (77th place).

As you can see from the chart above, the worst 78th place in 2015 was graded with 6.02 points (grades are between 1 – worst to 10 – best), while this year’s ranking of the 77th place brought 5.97 points and left the country only 0.03 points below the “magic number” of 6 points needed to cross the line and move from a “hybrid regime” to the group of countries that the EIU calls “flawed democracies”. The reason the 77th place today has fewer points than the 78th place 5 years ago is because of the analytical house’s opinion that democracy is lagging behind on a global level and therefore the ratings today are stricter than 5 years ago, but this is not directly connected to North Macedonia.

What matters is the fact that we are now away from the lower echelon of countries rated “hybrid regimes” with scores lower than 5.00, a figure the country approached dangerously in 2015 with 5.23 points, also coming close to countries such as Nigeria, Gambia, Haiti, Mali, Sierra Leone and, unfortunately, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Otherwise, a three-year jump of 18 places and the fact that we are missing only 3 hundredths of a point from getting a grade of 6 points shows that if reforms continue this year, next year we are well on our way to abandon the country’s 5-year designation as a ” hybrid regime” and go further up on the scale.

However, all of these arguments show that Mickoski’s statement is a mere manipulation, which in this particular case is only used as an introduction and opportunity for further attacks on his political opponent in the continuation of the press conference. That wouldn’t be a problem if what he says was true and not just manipulation and a spin.


Author: Vladimir Petreski




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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 US non-profit foundation National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, the National Endowment for Democracy or their partners.

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