Filipov invites himself to “someone else’s wedding”

Naum Kotevski

Former Ambassador Gjorgji Filipov threw in the “ballot with his name on it” yesterday in the Social Democrats’ presidential election box. He is the first to submit his bid in SDSM’s public call for candidates, which stays open until February 19, and at the party’s evening party’s executive board, which, according to certain information, the presidential elections will be also discussed.

As expected, Filipov’s announcement of his bid, which first reached the SDSM headquarters on Bihac Street, and then he held a press conference, was dominated by terms that are part of the main political slogans of coalition government partners – “consensual president” and “one society for all”.

“I will act on the principle of one community. Everyone wants a life of peace and safety; healthy and clean air; quality education, and strong public health,” Filipov said at Monday’s press conference.

He considers himself a solid future consensual president, although he notes it would be more appropriate to use the term joint candidate, as “consensual” has not been clearly defined yet, which would imply a 75% support by the population or political parties.
He expects from SDSM to review all bids and make the right decision.

This development of events was announced by Filipov the day after the public call was released on February 4, when he said that a number of friends, individuals and groups or representatives of groups expressed interest in his bid for president in the upcoming elections.

When asked why he decided to apply to SDSM’s call instead of VMRO-DPMNE’s or running for president as an independent candidate, he said his viewpoints and vision were closer to SDSM’s in terms of Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic prospects.

“Apart from having a vision for Macedonia’s development after I’m elected, I also have a plan and a strategy to implement it,” he said.
Regardless of the fact that he shares the same views with the Social Democrats, another reality says that Filipov’s ambitions to triumph in the race for the presidential candidate of the ruling party are mildly unrealistic.
Asked about his motive to participate in a race in which he knows that the chances are reduced to a minimum, part of the Social Democrats, are shrugging their shoulders, although they don’t hide that he is a professional of exceptional quality with an impressive diplomatic career, but relatively unknown to the wider public.

Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Radmila Sekerinska said that “the candidates that SDSM will choose are not candidates that one could find in the archives, and we will need to bring them closer to the citizens as soon as possible”.

Gjorgji Filipov holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Property. A member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, has published six books, and 180 scientific papers.

He was Macedonia’s Ambassador to Germany (2005-2010) at a time when the Macedonian government was headed by Vlado Buckovski, and the head of state was Branko Crvenkovski. He later took the post of Macedonia’s Ambassador to Austria (2010-2014) when Prime Minister was Nikola Gruevski, and the head of state was Gjorge Ivanov. At the time, he was director of the State Bureau of Intellectual Property, and throughout his career he has chaired a whole range of international bodies in that area.

He was publicly exposed during the debates on the Agreement of Greece. His position was that for the first time in the history of the name talks both sides understood the essence of the issue. He stressed the importance of raising awareness and that the price for resolving the name dispute would be paid by both sides. He also advised companies that carry a Macedonian flag to protect their name, emphasizing, however, that nothing will be forcibly changed and that there will be further discussion.

“It’s not a matter of a “hidden trump card” around which coalition partners would eventually be united. Apart from further affirmation and commercialization, I do not know what Filipov’s other motives would be,” say part of the Social Democrats that we talked to yesterday.

According to them, Filipov is perfectly clear who are the favorites in the presidential race and how he can pass through party filters and Congress delegates given that he has never been an active member of the political party.
“Some of the other candidates mentioned in public like Dimitrov and Pendarovski were also not party members, but they were direct participants in the extremely important political processes. Pendarovski was already a presidential candidate, and also the holder of the list in the first election district of the parliamentary elections. He always stood behind Zaev at the most sensitive moment during press conferences when they were publishing the so-called “bombs” for the crimes of the previous government. Dimitrov, on the other hand, is one of the creators of the Prespa Agreement that provided a historic step forward for the country.  As for incumbent Minister of Internal Affairs Oliver Spasovski and Deputy Prime Minister Radmila Sekerinska, they both have climbed all party steps,” our interlocutors say.

The final election will be adopted by SDSM at the party’s Congress on March 3rd. So far everything is possible, said the ruling party, and even an agreement with DUI for a consensual candidate – an idea that was first rejected, and then again resurfaced.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, along with his wife Zorica Zaeva, attended the ceremony of opening the European Youth Olympic Games in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to certain information, he has not yet met with Ahmeti, with whom he is supposed to discuss the two main topics – early parliamentary elections and a consensual presidential candidate.