VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski yesterday returned from a two-day visit to Budapest and Vienna. In the Hungarian capital, he met with Prime Minister Viktor Orban, while he went to Austria to exchange experiences and information related to his professorial activities at the University of St. Cyril and Methodius. On Friday, he will be attending a traditional celebration of the Ilinden Uprising in the village of Tashmarunishta in Struga, after which he and his family leave for a week-long summer vacation in Croatia.
The meeting with Orban, which discussed the relationship between the two sister parties (VMRO-DPMNE and Fidesz), as well as the “merit” of the government for still waiting a date for accession negotiations with Brussels, however, was overshadowed by another one that didn’t even happen. According to the main opposition party, Mickoski, who was accompanied by Vice President Aleksandar Nikoloski, did not meet with Nikola Gruevski, who has been granted political asylum in Hungary for the past nine months.
In fact, this is not the first time Mickoski claims that he didn’t meet with Gruevski, even though he was in Budapest, or just passed by the capital. In April this year, VMRO-DPMNE alleged that a Bentley owned by Zaev’s family followed Mickoski’s vehicle while traveling through the Hungarian metropolis, possibly trying to “document” him meeting with Gruevski. The attempt was unsuccessful.
Nikola Gruevski stays the honorary president of VMRO-DPMNE. His title remained even after the October dimissal of party staffing that worked against the party’s stance on the Prespa Agreement and helped bring the country’s new name to Parliament. Gruevski’s cousin Sasho Mijalkov one of the few that were kicked out of the party. Gruevski was not associated with such activities and attempts to recruit VMRO-DPMNE MPs.
“I have not been in contact with Gruevski since the time when the SDSM Government allowed him to leave the country,” reads Mickoski’s short message to Nezavisen Vesnik/Independent Daily newspaper.
After Gruevski’s resignation as leader of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE nearly two years ago, a bunch of party officials, known and unknown, were trying to succeed him. The choice of the party membership fell on Hristijan Mickoski, the party’s then secretary general, which was a good-enough reason for those who did not get a chance to label him a pawn of the Gruevski-Mijalkov duo. It took Mickoski nearly ten months to get rid of that burden, and then his chance came overnight: Gruevski fled the country, and Mijalkov was arrested. Then came the coup in Parliament and the dismissal of the former head of the intelligence services. Mijalkov later wrote several public letters to Mickoski, accusing him of not being capable enough to lead the party because he creates divisions, even sending him a message that he would take over it. The anger of one of the cousins may also have come in response to the party’s new leadership claiming that the state is headed by a criminal coalition: Mijalkov – Viceto and Zoran Zaev.
During this entire period, despite the indirect acknowledgments that the VMRO-DPMNE government had made mistakes, and was punished by the citizens, the new leadership is keeping an eye on Gruevski’s descriptions, and for the reason that he continues to be seen as an icon among some of the membership. When it comes to the criminal acts linked to the former prime minister, the party says they have seen no evidence so far, despite the fact that the prosecutor’s office and the judiciary are in the hands of the government.
“The only verdict against him is for a vehicle that was purchased for the needs of the Ministry of Interior and which is still in the hands of the Ministry of Interior,” VMRO-DPMNE said.
Opposition MPs in Parliament were not given a chance to vote in favor of or against the resignation of Gruevski after being absent from his MP post for more than six months. Namely, the party’s executive committee decided to vote “in favor”, but the process did not come to a vote, as Gruevski resigned.
SDSM: Did he visit his boss because of the census?
The ruling SDSM does not believe that Hristijan Mickoski did not use the visit to Budapest to meet with the former prime minister. SDSM asks the VMRO-DPMNE leader if he was still consulting with his fugitive boss, Nikola Gruevski.
“Did Mickoski go to Gruevski to seek advice on how to prevent the Census Law? Did Mickoski go to Gruevski to seek advice on how to prevent justice and defend VMRO-DPMNE’s crime even more strongly? Did Mickoski go to Gruevski to teach him how to spread fake news about nationalism and hatred among citizens? Did Mickoski get instructions from Gruevski on how to proceed with the destruction and attempts to impede the country’s progress towards EU and NATO integration?” asked the Government.
According to the Social Democrats, it is clear that the only criminal octopus is located in Budapest, its head is Nikola Gruevski, and his tentacles are Mickoski and VMRO-DPMNE.
Zaev: Come back home and serve your time if you want to help
It was a meeting of leaders of right-wing political parties that can prove to be important in strengthening Macedonian-Hungarian ties, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said when asked to comment on Tuesday’s meeting of VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban in Budapest.
It’s a very logical thing, he said, two right-wing leaders to meet since their parties are also EPP members. “I really believe this meeting can contribute to strengthening the friendship between North Macedonia and Hungary,” Zaev said speaking to reporters in Bitola on Wednesday.
Asked to comment on ex-PM Nikola Gruevski’s Facebook post, saying he got the urge to help Zaev after everything that had been happening recently in the country, PM Zaev said that the best way to help was for Gruevski to come back and go to jail.
“The country, indeed, needs help. The best way to help is to serve your time. We are all sending a message of accountability with everything we do. So, I can really send an ambiguous message – come back home,” he stated.
Asked about the meeting he had in July 2018 with Bojan Jovanovski – the prime suspect in the money extortion case codenamed ‘Racket’ – Zaev said the government’s doors was opened for everyone having good ideas.
He said he met Jovanovski in his capacity as official of an non-governmental organization to discuss ways to provide support for the construction of nursing homes for the elderly across the country.
“Government officials have been hosting guests regularly. It’s not the first time that some meetings have been taken advantage of. Investigations have been launched to establish evidence and to determine if someone has broken the law,” PM Zaev told reporters.