AIM: start

SUN, 05 MAY 2002 18:31:50 GMT

Struggle for Survival

Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski is tightening the noose around President Boris Trajkovski. After a tour of the towns in Macedonia where he lay down corner stones for sports halls, Minister of internal affairs Ljube Boskovski is organizing rallies of support to himself and a campaign of collecting signatures with the motto: "We will not give brother Ljube up to The Hague". VMRO-DPMNE is receiving sisterly help from Democratic Party of the Albanians. Prime Minister's party has begun a comprehensive election campaign, although there are at least 5 months until the elections.

AIM SKOPJE, April 30, 2002

While he was in an official visit to China, President Boris Trajkovski experienced a new episode in the evidently well orchestrated attacks against him that originate from the party he was once a candidate of! President Trajkovski was accused of unauthorized treating of the Agreement he has signed on the borders with FR Yugoslavia as an agreement on the change of borders.

TV Sitel accused him of treason, and Zum weekly published a story based on a letter UNMIK had addressed to Macedonian government in which "concerning the issue that results from the Agreement between Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on border changes" reminds of the agreement reached by President Trajkovski and Kosovo administrator Michael Steiner on the establishment of a body charged with resolving "practical problems that arise from border changes". What is problematic at first sight is the use of the term "border changes", because the agreement officially signed by Boris Trajkovski and Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica in the beginning of February last year is just an agreement on demarcation of the border.

Until just a few days ago, this agreement was the object of powerful support by the Macedonian public and condemnation of the declarations of new Kosovar authorities and certain representatives of KFOR that relativized the importance of the agreement. A considerable number of the Macedonians believe that last year in February the war in Macedonia started because it was "exported" from Kosovo due to the discontent there caused by signing of the contract on the border between FRY and Macedonia, which is actually mostly the border with Kosovo, and the Kosovars or UNMIK had not been consulted at all. That is the reason why the recent Michael Steiner's visit to Skopje was estimated as the final overcoming of the problem because the Kosovo administrator repeated the well-known stands of the OUN and the international public (UN Security Council welcomed the signing of the agreement in March last year, and so did the USA, and all that was in a way repeated this year after the unfortunate declaration of an American general who is a member of KFOR that the UN did not recognize Yugoslav-Macedonian agreement on border).

Steiner declared at the time that practical problems that arise in the implementation of the agreement had to be resolved and that he had informed Macedonian President about it. There are about 2,500 hectares of Macedonia’s land that belongs to the Kosovars and that they cannot cultivate after Macedonia had become an independent state. That is why back in 1996, immediately after the establishment of relations between Macedonia and FRY, a mixed inter-state commission was formed and entrusted to protect the interests of the people who live in the border zone during determination of the borders.

TV Sitel and Zum were obviously too hasty when they proclaimed Trajkovski a traitor certain that by having listened out to Steiner and agreed that a solution should be found he in fact consented to the possibility of changing the border based on land register documents of the Kosovars. All that is considered to be yet another concession in favour of the Albanians. Prime Minister Georgievski recently accused him of "pardoning terrorists", and at the same time he is lobbying in the international public for disbanding the "lions" - the controversial police special units EU Commissariat considers para-police and, together with the USA, insists that it be disbanded.

Prime Minister Georgievski rejected this letter of UNMIK with indignation and the blame was lain on President Trajkovski. The office of President Trajkovski who was in an official visit to China at the time, rejected the accusations as part of "a general climate of destruction that prevails in the Republic of Macedonia and diverts the attention and energy of the public from real problems".

The phrase "general climate of destruction" hides an almost open war against President Trajkovski, which is not dying down especially after his address to the members of the Balkan political forum where he spoke about organized crime and its close connections with the highest authorities in the region, Macedonia inclusive. After having received American public support, Trajkovski was the object of aimed activity of a government commission for corruptedness of officials headed by minister of internal affairs Ljube Boskovski that requested a detailed report from Trajkovski on the received aid and its distribution at the time of the crisis of refugees from Kosovo. That was the time when, in the capacity of deputy foreign minister, Trajkovski was the government coordinator in charge of this job. The scandal continued thanks to the current foreign minister Slobodan Casule by who announced that documentation on the received and distributed aid during the crisis in Kosovo had disappeared, and then noted at the first session of the mentioned commission the disappearance of frozen chicken meat that ended up nobody knows where!

Trajkovski is in fact part of a new broad front the ruling VMRO-DPMNE has initiated in order to save itself from defeat at the forthcoming parliamentary elections which, based on the document signed by four biggest parliamentary parties are scheduled to take place on September 15. All public opinion polls speak of practically catastrophic defeat of VMRO-DPMNE. Although there is at least five months until the elections, the party has obviously gone into action.

Minister of internal affairs Ljube Boskovski, who was for a long time the most popular politician for the Macedonians thanks to the support of the hard-core ethnic Macedonians, was elected to be the person to personify this party. He got as much time and space in the media controlled by the government, like MTV, as he saw fit. His activities which are not even part of his ministerial duties, like participation in various cultural, entertaining and other social events, but also his almost daily laying cornerstones for sports halls built by government Agency for Sports and Youth, are getting unusually long time in central news shows of MTV. With unconcealed support of these media, but also private TV Sitel, a campaign of support is going on to the "citizens' initiative" of collecting signatures under the motto "We shall not give up brother Ljube to The Hague". The way this campaign of support has started, it will be no wonder if in this campaign more signatures are collected than there are citizens of Macedonia. Besides, nobody wonders who the signatories are opposing, because despite Boskovski's involvement in the case of Ljuboten (police intervention Boskovski witnessed in August last year when according to the report of Human Rights Watch, ten innocent civilians were killed), the Hague Tribunal still has not completed the investigation about this case, nor raised charges against Boskovski, least of all requested his extradition.

The Prime Minister and his most powerful minister (of finance) Nikola Gruevski have also re-opened the TAT scandal, the case of pyramidal savings from the time of Branko Crvenkovski's government, when about 100 million German marks were taken away from the citizens, and the government has promised the damaged depositors with deposits below 1000 euros compensation in cash and the others in state foreign currency bonds.

Within the current Albanian political conflict, Democratic Party of the Albanians (DPA) explained the events by the intention of their opponents to break the present and prevent the future coalition with VMRO-DPMNE.

The fear of the possible defeat in the elections is obviously the motive for early pre-election activities of the major, but also of the other minor parties in power. One of the spread explanations is that VMRO-DPMNE and DPA are not afraid of the loss of power as much as of a possible (criminal) responsibility for what they have done in practising power. In the months before the elections many new surprises should be expected.