Submission of a petition to the Constitutional Court for assessing the name dispute with Greece, and boycotting the referendum in order to fail due to the unfulfilled census are the next two steps that Levica plans to make in the upcoming period. This movement, which grew into a party, profiled itself as one of the few on the domestic scene, which openly advocates the preservation of the constitutional name of Macedonia, unlike the “big players” that calculate with statements and behavior. It was Levica that pointed to the possibility of President Gjorge Ivanov’s veto of the adoption of the Law on Languages, and argued that the Government has no authority to sign international agreements for changing the name, on which the party will react to the Constitutional Court. Levica also announced criminal charges against Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, and conducted several lesser “fouls”, such as the accusation of the fake double doctorate of the government’s secretary general, Dragi Raskovski, and the reaction to giving government concessions for mining exploitation, making the popular “Leftists” slowly became the driving force of the right wing in society.
“The excessive use of force by the special police is not a feature of a democratic state. I participated in all the protests of the ‘Colorful Revolution’ in times of the ‘Gruevism’, but I do not remember tear gas and shock bombs,” Professor Dimitar Apasiev from the presidium of Levica said after the violent protests in front of the Skopje Assembly.
The recent past of Levica shows that they were one of the most vocal critics of the government of Nikola Gruevski, were on the streets daily and protested demanding change. Three years later, most of their “colorful” comrades were housed in the government, while they stayed on the other side of “Ilindenska”. Recently they received public criticism from SDSM that they became part of the retrograde streams and that they resemble the far right.
“We have not become right-wing, we are just principled. In accordance with our principles, we took a position regarding the name dispute, which is in respect of human rights, including the right to self-determination of every nation, and we pledged to solve the issue without causing a rise in nationalism in Macedonia and Greece. This way, chosen by SDSM and Syriza, obviously awakens nationalism and, instead of a European perspective, puts us into a national discourse. Unfortunately, the political elites in the country, SDSM and previously VMRO-DPMNE, always do the same: they use national issues to distract the citizens from the real problems, which are poverty and the economy. As we criticized the past government, we will also criticize this one, because nothing has changed. These new rulers also want to enjoy the privileges without worrying about everyday problems,” Zdravko Saveski, a member of the central committee of Levica, stated for Nezavisen/Independent.
They criticize the tree cut in the Skopje settlement Aerodrom and Mayor Zlatko Marin, the failure of dismiss the “Alpha” unit, the non-functioning of the external control in the Interior Ministry… Some of the supporters of the government perceive the criticism as personal, expressed by angry structures that they failed to win power or become part of it after the overthrowing of Gruevski’s government. On the other hand, the hardline wing in VMRO-DPMNE sees a partner in Levica in the failure to accept the name dispute with Greece, that is, the moderation they receive from the new leadership.
“The VMRO-DPMNE’s passivity is their internal business. Our position is known and unchangeable, they are a business party that impoverishes the people; they are right-wing parties, because we, as leftists, so we can not and do not cooperate. We are just principled, and this is an obstacle to the new government,” Saveski concludes.
Levica won over 12,000 voters in the early parliamentary election in 2016. Last year, in the local election, Levica came out in 11 municipalities with 11,000 votes, as well as three council seats: one in the City of Skopje, Karpos Municipality and Rosoman. The party is not in a coalition with any other political party.
VMRO-DPMNE also says that the name dispute with Greece is bad, and will not vote for constitutional changes. VMRO-DPMNE offcials announced a working summer in which they will visit all towns and villages, but many things remain uncertain: will they organize new protests, whether they will appear and vote in parliament for ratification, whether they will be boycotting the referendum or will come out and vote against, which would provide a census. What if they do not win in the end and if the referendum shows that citizens support the agreement? Will they then support the necessary constitutional changes respecting the will of the citizens? The biggest opposition party gathered in Bitola yesterday, but said it does not stand behind the evening protests in Skopje.
“Your place is among the people “,”Get out in the streets, stop hiding in a hole,” “People are not stupid, they see that you play games,” “Do not even think of voting in the referendum, boycott it, SDSM and Albanian parties can not collect 900,000 voters”, “MPs to leave the assembly”… are only part of the messages that the new leadership of VMRO-DPMNE receives from its members and supporters. Members of the factional wing regularly appear on protests, as well as professors and public figures who support VMRO-DPMNE’s side with their positions.
“I am aware that all the eyes of the public are staring at us. The people seek salvation in us, and I listen to the voice of the people. We face the greatest betrayal and capitulation that could have ever happened to us, and that is the agreement they signed to change our centuries-old name. The campaign they have carried out is to be passive, to show that you are disinterested and say that they are all the same. I assure you that we are not all the same, are we all here the same. To think that nothing depends on you, and believe me, everything depends on you, on us, the future of this country depends on you and us, not from it. But I’ll tell you again, we were underestimated,” Mickoski exclaimed from Bitola’s Sirok Sokak. He promised that he would not accept the agreement even if it meant paying the price with his life, and threatened that the day will come when the ones who betrayed Macedonia will be held accountable.