Hristijan Mickoski and VMRO-DPMNE are still campaigning for the party. The latest invention is throwing down the gauntlet for television duel with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev for causing new divisions and deeper hatred among citizens. They still cannot accept that the referendum is not an election.
Somehow they direct the gap on that water mill, although this voting on September 30th is a general historic explanation for the future of Macedonia. The calculation is quite transparent - in an unsuccessful referendum, Mickoski sees new elections and the return of VMRO-DPMNE's power, as well as termination of the trials against Nikola Gruevski and his closest associates. In the defeat of Macedonia and in hindering its joining NATO and the EU, Mickoski seeks for the rescue of the party and the corrupt and compromised leadership.
The television duel before the most important referendum vote since the declaration of independence of Macedonia would make sense only if it were to increase turnout, the referendum would gain legitimacy with a greater turnout. Otherwise, the repetition of the outdated theses that are essentially harmful to both Mickoski and VMRO-DPMNE are for the EU and NATO membership, but not with such a harmful agreement with Greece, only increases the confusion and favors the worst commitment to abstinence and boycotts, which marks the end of the Macedonian Euro-Atlantic aspirations, because without the Prespa Agreement, they are unachievable.
Mickoski and the new leadership of VMRO-DPMNE did not accept the ideal solution that was eve recognized by the founders of the party and many members, as well as its supporters and public figures, and that is the reality that the Agreement is an inevitable requirement for joining NATO and the EU and that it is impossible get more favorable than this deal. The reality that has been confirmed by the most responsible people of both the EU and NATO, numerous world statesmen and, most importantly, is confirmed by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz. The VMRO-DPMNE's self-isolation from this historic act is detrimental to the party. The divisions in the country will not bypass the party as much as it is under the supervision of the former leadership.
In a very apparent situation, the referendum without a clear ‘for’ position by the leadership of the VMRO-DPMNE party will be recorded in history as an opponent of the realization of the most important priorities of the state, say the founders of VMRO-DPMNE, whose dream were alliances with NATO and the EU, ie the Western orientation for which there is a general consensus from the first day of Macedonia’s independence.
Hristijan Mickoski, after an undue long consideration, did not recognize the extraordinary chance not only for Macedonia, but also for his party and his personal chance to cement him as the true leader of the party with this referendum. Firstly, coalition partners in power have assumed responsibility for compromise solutions and painful concessions made to the Treaty. This allowed Mickoski to present himself as the savior of the historic referendum, accepting the role of a key player who would provide mass turnout and prosperity in the affirmation.
At the same time, the possible proposal by VMRO-DPMNE to parliament for joint proclamation of all political parties to the citizens to turn out massively in the referendum secured its leadership position both in the party and in the entire opposition with great advantage, since the responsibility for the concessions in the Agreement was borne by the parties in power. It also widely opened the doors to Mickoski for reforms within the party and its modernization and a chance to get rid of the heavy ballast from the previous leadership. Instead, Mickoski calls for a TV duel against the referendum with the same tough rhetoric as before for the Agreement with Greece, which suggests that it is fulfilling another order of the party members from the defendant’s bench that has only one desire - to save themselves from judicial justice.
It is hard to believe that there were no more serious perceptions in VMRO-DPMNE, perhaps disagreements and quarrels over what it means to distance the party from the most significant historic opportunity for the future of the country. If both possible results of the referendum are taken into account, both are detrimental to the party. In case the referendum is successful, which is most obvious, it would be a defeat of VMRO-DPMNE and a great victory for Macedonia. The clamor to justify that the results of the referendum were set up would have no effect. After the congratulations from the world, the party's dissolution, which will provide a two-thirds majority in parliament for the necessary constitutional changes, will begin.
In case the turnout is at the borderline or under the legal census, even if less than 900,000 citizens turn out, of which 750,000 and 800,000 will be for European Macedonia, this could never be a victory for VMRO-DPMNE. On the contrary, although the referendum is consultative, in that case the resignation of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and the government, the dissolution of parliament will mark 60 days of new elections. Those 750,000 votes on Euro-Atlantic integrations will be directed to the pre-election coalition for European Macedonia that will bring more than two-thirds seats.
The problem is that such a delay can have serious negative consequences in relations with the EU and NATO, and very likely in Greece will also encourage the opponents of the Agreement.
For any of the reasons listed, if Macedonia did not realize the historic chance of joining Europe and NATO membership, VMRO-DPMNE and Hristijan Mickoski will bear the great responsibility that at the crucial moment they stood against state and party interests. It will be nothing new to this political party, its previous leader in the previous 11 years before the change of power did it very successfully, keeping Macedonia away from Europe and NATO, finding excuses in fake patriotism and the alleged rescue of the identity of the Macedonian people. This time there is no room for excuses, the tragic faulty opportunist policy becomes apparent under the strong pressure of the losers in the courtrooms.
The public increasingly recognizes not only the fake identity and patriotic messages, but above all the importance not to miss the biggest chance in the new history of independent Macedonia and especially that the EU and NATO membership is not empty promises made by bureaucrats from Brussels, but the highest European officials and statesmen. The wider public in Macedonia nowadays realizes the true European values and benefits that the citizens of Macedonia will have. Before the rapture of the truth, long-standing propaganda for NATO has been sinking as a criminal organization and the EU as a selfish Babylonian whore that is about to fall apart. Not even the most hardline propagandists believe this anymore. The historic justification for Macedonia to become a European country, like all the Balkan states, will win a great victory in the referendum.
Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik