After criticism made by some of the public and municipal organizations, VMRO-DPMNE will change the party’s Statute, which has been recently sent to the country’s local committees for a review. Warnings that there will be even greater centralization in VMRO-DPMNE, filling organs and bodies with people close to the president and the senior leadership, and provisions that do not lead to democratization, but to the elimination of anyone who will freely state their own position, require a loosening of the draft – the Statute’s proposal, sources from the “White Palace” confirm. According to them, the negative indications that were sent to them will be taken into account, the debate is open until August 31, and it is expected that the Statute will be amended in September.
“We planned several changes: a municipal committee assembly would be introduced, it would be something like a mini-central committee or mini-parliament at the municipal level, where they themselves will decide on candidates for councilors and will propose mayors. Then, the party leader will no longer automatically lead the central committee, instead a chairman will be appointed. This new change is made in accordance with the prime minister and president of the state level. We will limit the terms, each party official (president, chairman of the executive committee, chairman of the Central Committee, member of the executive committee etc.) can be elected twice, while for a third term the official will have to get at least two-thirds of the votes. When we are in power, the state function will be constrained with membership in the management and supervision committees which happens constantly, in the past as well as now,” party officials said.
The research network BIRN reported that the new statute has elements of censorship, since several points are outlined to specify what constitutes a violation of the party’s “constitution”, including the expression of “views contrary to the party’s declared policy in printed or electronic, radio or television media”, as well as “disregard for guidelines (decisions, conclusions, etc.) of party organs and bodies”. No factionation is allowed.
“Article 25, which resembles the reincarnation of the so-called “bills of exchange”, with which the loyalty of the MPs was previously conditioned. It stipulates that every member who is a candidate for a MP in the Assembly, candidate for mayor or advisor, (besides the consent to run and a declaration of respect for the Statute) must sign a ‘statement of unconditional resignation of the office in case of expulsion or exclusion from party, joining another party, joining another parliamentary or advisory group or acting independently,” BIRN writes.
Our interlocutors admit that it is envisaged to hand an urgent resignation to all those who will not follow the policies of the headquarters or who will distance themselves from the party, but it is not specified whether there will be other sanctions against the “disobedient” or exclusion from membership.
“It probably sounds harsh when you hear that no one is allowed to say or announce a different position than that of the party, but the idea is not to let it be an unsynchronized orchestra. Anyone can say what he/she thinks until we reach an official stance, and then we all need to defend it. All right, we will change this article, we accept that everyone can not have the same point of view, but there are no concessions on major issues. It’s one thing for a person to go to an interview and say that two, and not five planes, are enough to spray against mosquitoes, and it is quite another for a party official to have a different position and publicly promote it for important issues, such as the referendum. There will be loosening of some of the points, we also received complaints from the local committees, therefore we leave room for them to express themselves fully, we take all indications from the public and the experts into consideration,” commented VMRO-DPMNE.
A novelty in the draft statute is the party’s court of honor, which will decide in the second instance on the appeal of the UK and the IC of the party for imposing disciplinary measures. According to Article 57, “The court judges in court council, whereby in order to work and decide majority of the total number of judges is necessary”, and “the decisions are final and legal remedies are not allowed against them”. The VMRO-DPMNE patriotic institute will be formed, which, together with the council of intellectuals, is one of two bodies that should “advocate and spread the party’s ideas in their fields of action and affirm the interests of the target groups in the party’s politics”.
The party confirms that the main resolutions in the Statute are written in accordance with the sister parties: the Austrian People’s Party of Sebastian Kurz, the German CDU of Angela Merkel, the En Marche of Emanuel Macron, the Slovenian Democratic Party of Janez Jansa and the Croatian HDZ.
The last time the Statute of VMRO-DPMNE was changed was two years ago. The procedure for the preparation of a new statute began last December and was highlighted as a priority goal of the new leadership and the refractory wing, which joined the party after the belligerent relationship with the previous leader Nikola Gruevski. VMRO-DPMNE hopes to achieve greater efficiency of the activities of the party’s bodies, strengthening party bodies and greater independence in decision-making by the parties.
“All changes will be made through a process of open intra-party dialogue and consultation, as well as using the positive experiences of the democratic right-wing sister parties from Europe,” the party said.