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Macedonia Opposition Rally Demands March Election

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By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

At an anti-government rally in Skopje on Sunday, Macedonia’s joint opposition bloc called for early general elections to be held along with the March local polls.

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters on Sunday filled Skopje’s central square, demanding early elections and protesting against the government of Nikola Gruevski whose VMRO DPMNE party has been in power since 2006.

Macedonia
Macedonia

“Let us go on to local and general elections in March,” Branko Crvenkovski, head of the main opposition Social Democrats said.

The call for early general elections alongside the planned local elections in the spring comes amid speculation that the government itself is preparing for a snap poll, hoping to catch the opposition unprepared.

The opposition bloc, “Alliance for the Future”, accused Gruevski of presiding over economic decline, of curbing democracy and freedom of speech and of delaying the country’s integration into NATO and the EU.

“This is a country of record unemployment, insolvent economy, frozen bank accounts… They [the government] have doubled the country’s debt… and this is not a democracy but a state run by a regime,” Crvenkovski said.

The opposition used the meeting to promote Jani Makraduli, a Social Democrat deputy, as its mayoral candidate for Skopje, the main prize in the 2013 local elections.

He criticized the expensive government-funded revamp of the capital, Skopje 2014, that draws inspiration from the artistic styles of Classical Antiquity.

“There is only one motive behind it: stealing money. This crime has cost more than 500 million euro,” he said, pledging that if the opposition wins, money will go on “roads and factories” and not on monuments and fountains.

The stakes for the Social Democrats in the forthcoming local elections are high as it seeks to recover much of its old popularity and power, lost in recent years.

Since losing power nationally in 2006 the party has suffered a series of defeats in local, presidential and general elections at the hands of VMRO DPMNE.

Although the Social Democrats boosted their numbers in parliament in last June’s early general election, they still lost the election to the ruling party. At local level they now control only a handful of more than 80 municipalities.

The front against Gruevski includes Crvenkovski’s once bitter rival, Ljubco Georgievski, who now presides over the small VMRO-People’s Party, but was formerly a leader of Gruevski’s VMRO DPMNE.

The rivalry between the two former Prime Ministers dominated Macedonian politics in early years of the country’s independence in the 1990s.

But the two men recently they said they needed to join forces if they were ever to defeat Gruevski.

However, an alliance with the largest ethnic Albanian opposition party, the Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA, has been more short-lived.

The party last week said it was leaving the opposition front, angry with the Social Democrats for promoting an ethnic Macedonian candidate in the ethnically mixed municipality of Struga instead of supporting their own man.

While the pro-government media said there were “only” about 11,000 people at the rally, the opposition claimed more than 70,000 turned out, calling it “the biggest rally in recent Macedonian history”.

Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

6 thoughts on “Macedonia Opposition Rally Demands March Election

  • Avatar
    October 30, 2012 at 12:17 am
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    Crvenkovski asked for an election a year ago,Gruevski called his bluff,the result a huge loss for the SDSM.Crvenkovski serves as a tool for the Greek government.Greece did not get moneys worth before,and now Crvenkovski will do anything to satisfy his donors.Crvenkovski,Frckovski,Petkovski and Georgievski should be charged for treason.Hopefully,another Alexander will be born to bring this mafia to justice once for all!This band were selling oil to Serbia on the black market while the western countries had a ban on such commodities againts the Milosevic government.These are the same people who were paid by Greece to carry on propaganda againts its own people.PM Gruevski has accomplished more for the Republic of Macedonia in 6 years than this band done in 16 years.These same people got more than 200,000 people out of work while in power by selling off businesses to their own cronies for next to nothing.They will sell off their own mothers,let along the nation to their friends in Athens.PM Gruevski must act as did Alexander in Asia with Philota!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      October 30, 2012 at 12:40 am
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      Yes, I see a similarity between Alexander the Great and Gruevski. HA HA HA LMAO !!!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    October 30, 2012 at 5:33 am
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    PM Gruevski has been a blessing to the Republic of Macedonia in recent years. He has given the people the belief required to progress and flourish. We are Macedonians and Gruevski makes us proud to be so. Crvenkovski does not know what he is…

    Reply
  • Avatar
    October 30, 2012 at 1:33 pm
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    I wholeheartedly agree with Peter; these cancerous bagra of opposition are nothing short than a bunch of well equipped thieves. Crvenkovski is the tissue that must surgically be removed from Macedonia… the sooner the better. Looking at their accusations one can see empty, unsubstantiated phrases and devoid of facts sound bites. People of Macedonia ask yourselves these questions:
    (a) what do these thieves offer you instead?
    (b) what do these cancerous plight of opposition offer you for the future?
    (c) what programs, aside from destroying what Gruevski’s government has built, do they offer you?
    (d) Where is their vision? plans for better future and most of all, how are they going to achieve it?
    Please, people, do not fall victim to these aramii, do not gamble with your future again. They gave you nothing but powerty, misery and destitude; they will give you the same thing next time around. Macedonia has never been this good. Things are getting better.
    Think hard and long before you decide to give your vote to these proven sell-outs. Ask concrete questions of them. Get answers and then compare. For God’s sake compare what has been done and how. Macedonia’s government has never been this transparent and honest with its people before. This government has a plan for your future anything else offered by the cancerous bagra of Crvenkovski spells sure disaster. I implore you to think hard and long before you lose what you have.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    October 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm
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    Isn’t this the same Crvenkovski who paid consultants from Slovenia hundreds of thousands of euros to find a way to topple Gruevski. Isn’t this the same thief who promisses you more of the same? Unless you start putting two and two together, this lopov is going to rob you blind.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    October 30, 2012 at 10:10 pm
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    Finally, Gruevski is being taken to task for his fabrication of history and destruction of Skopje’s true Bulgarian identity. His dictatorship will come to an end, and this period of time will be remembered by the people of Vardaska (this states true name) as a sad and frightening time of self hatred.

    Reply

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