AIM: start

MON, 03 DEC 2001 02:04:26 GMT

Leftists Leave the Government

Let's Play Separation!

The daydream of Macedonian Left, whatever that may imply, has come true: from now on it will watch the developments on the political scene of this country from a much more comfortable position than so far - from the opposition

AIM Skoplje, November 24, 2001

Last Friday Macedonian Assembly was in session and relieved of duty the ministers from the Social Democratic Alliance (SDSM) and the Liberal Democratic Party. They were the minister of defence Vlado Buckovski, head of diplomacy Ilinka Mitreva, deputy prime minister Ilija Filipovski (head of the government Coordination Agency for Overcoming the Crisis) and minister of health Petar Milosevski. Prime minister Georgievski had previously sent the chairman of the assembly Stojan Andov a request for the discharge of the ministers after the decision of their parties to leave the government coalition. Admittedly, the ministers had sent the prime ministers sharply formulated resignations in which he and his VMRO-DPMNE were accused of unwillingness to cooperate. However, since the Prime Minister's demand to Andov had arrived first, the ministers were not given a chance to explain the act of their parties. Three deputy ministers from SDSM, LDP, but also the Socialist Party which had also left the cabinet, were also relieved of duty.

>From the assembly platform Prime Minister Georgievski asked the mentioned three parties to reconsider and withdraw their decision, return to the government and reach an agreement about a reasonable date for early elections. "That would take place", according to Georgievski's words "immediately after the expiry of 55 days planned for full reintegration of territory". Leader of SDSM Branko Crvenskovski did not react to the offer, so the ministers were relieved of duty by majority of votes. Chairman of the assembly Andov suggested to the Prime Minister that the parliament vote on the reconstruction of the cabinet after the deputies decide on self-dissolution.

Such an outcome, as befits partners before a divorce, was preceded by sharp words of both parties, spearheaded by leaders Georgievski and Crvenkovski, as many believe, the two men who are holding the whole country a hostage with their ambitions. Crvenskovski gave the journalists reasons of this drastic act of his party: "Security situation is not completely stabilised, but the motives for which SDSM had entered the government at its own request have mostly been achieved. The goals were to avoid the danger of an interethnic conflict, to preserve territorial integrity and defeat the idea that the crisis could be resolved by division of territory and moving the population... The Social democratic Alliance has helped trace the road: Constitutional amendments have been adopted, plans were made for the return of security forces and the displaced persons to the crisis stricken area, donors' conference will certainly take place. "Now those who won the elections in 1998 should finish the job", said Crvenkovski. His party does not wish to serve as a cover for the crime committed by others. Or, as he tersely put it: "it does not wish to be a baby-sitter to Georgievski and his minister of internal affairs Boskovski and clean the mess they have made". Georgievski on his part called the act of the "left bloc" a "marketing move" and "stabbing Macedonia in the back".

Media are retelling the evaluation of foreign diplomats and well-informed western newspapers which do not conceal that they are not at all enthusiastic about the decision of the Social Democratic Alliance and the others. They consider it hasty for a party that has a moderate attitude towards the crisis. They are especially afraid that the current minister of internal affairs Ljube Boskovski will take over the defence department and that one of his party comrades from VMRO-DPMNE will take his place, and about it they say that it “may lose its teeth, but never its nature”.

The international community personified by Javier Solana and George Robertson has different intentions. A coalition with fine-sounding name – the government of national unity – formed at the peak of the crisis six months ago, had a very humble reach. With considerable delay it managed to squeeze through the Ohrid agreement, passing of Constitutional amendments and principled acceptance of amnesty for the members of Liberation National Army. However, it did not manage to endure until early elections before which the country might experience quite a lot of difficulties, if someone sees fit, especially if haggling arises concerning the date when the elections should take place. Quite probably, they will not take place on January 27 next year as it was agreed when the government was formed.

Things might have seemed very simple to Ljubco Georgievski before SDSM had not picked up its things and left slamming the door behind it. When he realised that the “leftists” would not return, it dawned on him that those who remained (or agreed to cooperation) would have very big demands; perhaps even too big. Among numerous guesses, what attracts the attention of journalists the most is the warning of the leader of the Democratic Party of the Albanians Arben Xhaferi who is conditioning his remaining in the government by passing of the Law on Local Self-Administration, rules of procedure of the parliament that would permit official use of Albanian language in the Assembly, and passing of the election law! It is true that all that is the result of the Ohrid Agreement and Constitutional amendments, but VMRO-DPMNE would be much happier if it could postpone the day of its implementation for as long as possible...

Chairman of the Assembly Stojan Andov gave the Prime Minister a time-out during the weekend to contemplate whether it would suit him better to propose to the parliament to dissolve itself or to schedule new elections. By the way, being a person to whom the agreement on self-dissolution of the parliament suits best (although he himself is opposed to it – which is a paradox but true) Andov would prefer to see the deputies take a break than to be exposed to the “pressure” of the Albanian bloc which would heartily insist on quick implementation of Constitutional amendments.

With or without the parliament, until early elections (probably next spring) Macedonia must have some kind of a government. The international community is not too willing to try to persuade Crvenkovski to change his mind. This means that all Georgievski has left are the parties of the Albanians and satellites who wish to profiteer. Two parties of the Albanians would be “too much” for him; perhaps one could be swallowed. It is true that should Georgievski remain with Xhaferi as his old friend in need, that will not be the same Xhaferi from the beginning of the crisis; there is the “third man” now – political representative of the Liberation National Army Ali Ahmeti.

The “Leftists” threatened the people that Georgievski might decide to rule alone. Despite Xhaferi. It is a risky possibility, but a possibility. But should his party, the analysts are guessing, choose self-dissolution of the parliament, it would avoid heavy barrage of the old-new opposition which is angrier than ever. Of course, the international community would not be happy with it. In case of the other, much more peaceful possibility, the deputies in the assembly will not be of much use. A few more days and they will loosen their ties and belts because of the forthcoming, long, in Macedonia unusually too long, Bairam-New Year-Christmas holidays. And after that, we shall see! The state will still be there when they return.