Interview with Maja Moracanin: it’s not the right time for early general elections

Maja Moracanin is a lawmaker in the Macedonian Parliament, and last year she became the head of DOM, the only green party in our country. Right before the upcoming presidential elections, Moracanin, in an interview with Nezavisen Vesnik/Independent newspaper, says that the new president should be a person who will unite all citizens, and that Macedonia deserves to have a woman in this position.
As a member of the Green party, she is convinced that the future of the planet and humanity is in green politics. Therefore, she believes that Macedonia must invest more in protecting the environment and fighting climate change.

Mrs. Moracanin, what is DOM’s stance for a consensual presidential candidate, and what will your decision be about the presidential elections? Do you think it’s a good idea to have early general along with the presidential elections?

-There is an ongoing internal party debate over the performance of DOM in the presidential election, after which the party’s bodies will make the final decision. So far, we have not had talks with our coalition partner and we are expecting for the idea of ​​a consensual candidate to be presented soon. What is important for DOM is the personal and professional integrity of the presidential candidate. It should be a person who will unite all citizens and one that will work in the interests of all citizens. It is important for this person to be dedicated to cooperation with other countries and the Euro-Atlantic integration of the country. Also, for us – as a green party – attitude, commitment and understanding of environmental protection and the fight against climate change is of great importance.
Regarding the early general elections, I don’t think now is the right time for that. June will come soon enough and we expect to get a definite date for starting accession negotiations with the EU. This requires realization of the reforms, and I think that this should be the focus of the Government and the Parliament.

The Law on Languages ​​has even put the Prespa Agreement on the back burner. How do you see the way in which this law was officialized and published in the Official Gazette? Was there a coup, as claimed by the opposition, unlawful and unconstitutional behavior, as claimed by Ivanov, or was it a legal move made to respect the parliamentary will?

My colleague Liljana Popovska and I did not vote in favour of the law on languages, although we are supporters of the promotion of the language rights of all citizens. However, the very text of the proposed law is hardly applicable and dysfunctional. However, this law got the required majority of votes and in such a case the president of the state is obliged to sign the decree. Also, according to Article 52 of the Constitution, all laws and regulations are published in the Official Gazette within seven days. Regarding the issue of legality and constitutionality, competent authorities for answering the question are the competent institutions, that is, the court.

You recently became the leader of DOM, the only green party in Macedonia. In which direction do you plan to lead the party, and with what kind of policy?

For me, what is crucial is consistency towards green values, democracy, respect for human rights and freedoms, the fight against corruption, the rule of law, solidarity, equal opportunities for all, gender equality, and of course the protection of the environment and the fight against climate change. In terms of intra-party action, I consider that respect for internal party democracy and team co-operation is of great importance. We are fully committed to cooperating with civic associations and initiatives and the European Green parties.

As a woman party leader, do you think the time for a woman president has come?

Women’s rights and gender equality for me have always been a topic of interest and one of the main motives for which I have become involved in politics, to make my contribution. We all need to understand that the active involvement of women in all spheres of social life, not only in politics, is a contribution to the development of society as a whole. We in DOM have been advocating 50:50 for MPs and council lists for years, but also for greater representation of women in the executive power. Therefore, I think that Macedonia deserves to have a woman for president.

What do you think are the priorities that the ruling coalition needs to focus on now, after the Prespa Agreement has passed? As a partner of the government, are you satisfied with how the reforms that were announced at the start of this government are being made?

The focus of the past year and a half was directed at resolving open issues in foreign policy. I now think that the focus should be on implementing reforms in the interest of the Euro-Atlantic integration processes, but also enabling a better quality of life for the citizens. That means better economy, healthcare, education, social services, environment etc. These should be priorities not only of the central, but also of the local authorities. Young people should see that this country is really moving in the right direction and can offer them what they are looking for.

The parliament finally adopted a Law on Mineral Raw Material that prohibits the use of cyanide and sulfuric acid when flotation or parting in new open pit mines. Does this mean that the danger of mines as polluters is now completely removed? Has ecology finally overpowered business?

This is a great victory, and I am very glad that after one year the law got the required majority. This happened after the Kazandol mine was shut down, which was also a major victory. Amendments to the law are a clear message to all future investors and has put a protection shield on the possibility of opening such mines. But, however, the fight does not stop there. Not only in Macedonia, but in other countries that have much higher environmental standards and public awareness, there are always different business interests that do not take the environmental aspects into account. It is therefore important in the long run to make the transition to an existing economic model in a green economy, where economy and ecology will go hand in hand. There are many activities that fit into the green economy model, which, in turn, opens up a lot of space for new green jobs that we find necessary.

The government adopted a Clean Air Plan, which envisages a number of measures to improve the current situation. However, what the public wants to knows the most is when can we feel the first results, considering that we have breathed too much toxins for too long?

Of course, we all want to have quick results. What is good is that, for the first time, the government believes that the provision of clean air is a strategic priority. It is a clear political message. The measures of the Plan include a large number of measures that we, as a green party, have been proposing for years, as well as civil society organizations. What the DOM party remarked was the small amount of funds that were allocated from the budget, about 2 million euros, for which we received an explanation that the money was allocated in other sectors and that the sum is about 24 million euros. But, however, we thought it would have been good for those funds to be allocated precisely in the Clean Air Plan. It is important for us to work simultaneously on all sources of pollution, households, industry, traffic, waste, construction etc. Only this way can we expect visible results. That requires will, the capacity of the institutions, but also financial means. I expect that using the European funds we will have better results in this field. In the long run, measures should provide us with a transition from using fossil fuels to renewable sources and energy efficiency. I believe that the future of the planet and humanity is in the green policies. They are widely accepted among the citizens in the developed countries, although they were not fully understood and supported three or four decades ago. There is no other solution for keeping the Earth alive, because we already spend much more resources than we could ever recover.

Sanja Naumovska