Mickoski for DW: There is no time to lose, Zaev and I have been in place for four years

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As of today, the leader of VMRO-DPMNE Hristijan Mickoski, together with the party vice president Aleksandar Nikoloski, is leaving in a mini diplomatic offensive – to meet with politicians from the region and Europe. The meetings are taking place at a time when it is quite hot at home – both in terms of the census bill and in terms of talks with Bulgaria, which continue to receive messages that touch on identity issues. With the President of VMRO-DPMNE, Hristijan Mickoski, Deutsche Welle discussed these topics and the expectations from the upcoming meetings.

DW: You announced meetings with several politicians within the friendly relations with sister parties of VMRO-DPMNE from the family of the European People’s Party. What leads you to Budapest and Ljubljana at the moment ?

Hristijan Mickoski: This is, I would say, a mini diplomatic offensive, which in addition to Budapest and Ljubljana will include Zagreb. All these visits are related to the parties that are practically sister parties of VMRO-DPMNE within the family of the European People’s Party, but at the same time they are the ruling parties in the countries where they operate. Each meeting has its purpose, but what we have in common is that in these meetings we will openly discuss the blocked European perspective of Macedonia and the possibility for them to help move towards the European future. Regardless of the fact that VMRO-DPMNE is an opposition, I think that we should use all available potential to put some kind of pressure and move towards the EU. We have two options – either to suffocate in domestic accusations about who is spreading false news and who is telling the truth, to carry out an operation that will try to cover up the annex to the Agreement that Bulgaria is publicly talking about, and we see that the government in Macedonia is praying to God not to find out. And in the meantime, if the subject of history can be discarded as a separate science in education, because in that way one wants to court the side that demands much more than that, and still turn in a circle and sink deeper into the swamp of power.

Or, the second option is not to wait, to knock on the doors we can open, and to ask for support for what is a common strategic goal, which is to unblock the road to the EU. At the same time, we must be aware that as a country we are seriously lagging behind in many reforms. For four years the power is in the hands of Zaev, and for four years we have been in place, while the region and the world have achievements and progress. There is no time to lose. I will have a meeting with Victor Orban who is a great friend of Macedonia, but at the same time, let’s not forget, he is also the president of the party from which the Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varheji comes. I will also meet with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who will chair the European Union in less than six months as head of government in Slovenia. Then I continue to Zagreb, where I will have meetings with senior political representatives from the sister HDZ, which last year had a convincing victory in the elections. Apart from the European Union and the assistance they can offer, I will also discuss the use of economic potential. These three countries have very successfully dealt with the economic consequences of the coyote crisis, not only economically but also healthily. Finally, I would like to emphasize that one of the goals is to confirm the good relations and cooperation that we have as VMRO-DPMNE with our sister parties and the support we give to each other. These three countries have very successfully dealt with the economic consequences of the coyote crisis, not only economically but also healthily. Finally, I would like to emphasize that one of the goals is to confirm the good relations and cooperation that we have as VMRO-DPMNE with our sister parties and the support we give to each other. These three countries have very successfully dealt with the economic consequences of the coyote crisis, not only economically but also healthily. Finally, I would like to emphasize that one of the goals is to confirm the good relations and cooperation that we have as VMRO-DPMNE with our sister parties and the support we give to each other.

These days , the focus of VMRO-DPMNE is the topic of census . Your party spokesman told a news conference that ” Zaev promised that the number of Albanians in the country according to the census would be over 32% of the population. ” On what basis do you base such claims , pointing out even a specific percentage ?

The government made the topic of the census political and that is a consequence for two reasons. The first, because it did not involve the opposition in any way to participate in this process, but on the contrary, rejected all our proposals and substantive amendments, thirty in number. The second reason is that this process is being pushed into force at a time when many more developed countries such as Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, Scotland have postponed their censuses, primarily due to the coyote crisis. So the rejection of all proposals, and their violence as a government, gives us a legitimate right to doubt the aims of the census. I, too, fully aware of our responsibility, would be very careful in the qualifications and predictions, but I can certainly openly doubt the results of that census. And I assure you, if we have such a mafia census, numbers and percentages will be a matter of decor. VMRO-DPMNE has no problem with the percentages from the census if they are realistic and an expression of the factual situation, whatever they may be, but we have a problem with the politically motivated census that Zaev pushes by force. We need a fair and objective census, and everyone should know that a fake census, which, above all, should be a statistical operation, costs the citizens wrong projections for the future and money.

Do the same reasons for suspicion remain , which you cite many times?

Here are some of the reasons why we think a forged census is imminent: The census is intended to be completed by simply dictating the ID number. Can it happen that a person dictates several ID numbers, without showing adequate proof that they are currently residents of the Republic of Macedonia? There is still the institute of political double signature, which means that one staff of DUI, the other of SDSM will agree on what results to sign. Furthermore, they say that the registered ID numbers will be crossed with the databases. Which databases? So far, no database is known to the Macedonian public, which will be used. The government refuses to take fingerprinted data, and the same apparatus for fingerprinting according to the existing law should be procured for the local elections which are several months after the census. Furthermore, a census will be conducted according to a methodology that has not yet been officially published in the Official Gazette, why should the Government decide, and not, for example, the MPs and the Assembly, where the opposition is present? And finally, tell me in which country the census is pushed without consensus between the government and the opposition? There is no such thing.

You announced that VMRO-DPMNE will mobilize and together with the citizens will submit an initiative to the regional units of the Ministry of Justice, to collect signatures for a draft law that would annul the law on census that will be adopted by the parliamentary majority . What if that initiative fails ?

The law has not been adopted in the Parliament yet, although it is in procedure. We demand that the government withdraw it and reach a consensus among all political actors for a safe and objective census that will involve all relevant political entities. If that does not happen, we will start an action to collect signatures in the regional offices of the Ministry of Justice to pass a law to repeal the existing census law which will be the basis for the forgery pushed by the government. Here we demand universal support and mobilization of citizens in order to oppose. I hope for strong support from the citizens. If they decide to ignore this from the government and bypass the will of the citizens, then we publicly and clearly say that VMRO-DPMNE will not recognize the results of the census which will be an obvious forgery, even then, nor at the moment we take power. And that will be the clearest indicator of the arbitrariness and political engineering of the government, which wants to silence the citizens and their will.

Read the whole interview with Mickoski on Deutsche Welle