The purge on “Bihacka” should shine all the way to “Ilindenska”

The surprising shifts of the almost entire ruling echelon in the Social Democratic Union are evidence that President Zoran Zaev seriously grasped the message from voters in the presidential election. The purge should now proceed to Mala Recica with the coalition partner, and then in the government. That will be the more difficult part of the task, considering it will entail  cleaning out the staff who did not work in the interest of the citizens, different from the first sweep when those who failed in party affairs were dismissed. On the other hand, after the “the broom sweep” in the echelons of power, the “hungry” public will expect reaction in VMRO-DPMNE’s yard, above all in terms of cleaning away the remains of the “Gruevism”.

These are some of the comments of analysts, who closely watched the dramatic Sunday night at SDSM’s headquarters at “Bihacka” where Zaev dismissed the six vice-presidents (Damjan Mancevski, Frosina Remenski, Petre Shilegov, Oliver Spasovski, Muhamed Zekiri and Blagoj Bocvarski) , the entire Executive Board, the Secretary General Aleksandar Kiracovski, Mile Zecevic, the responsible for international cooperation – Dane Taleski, as well as the President of the Women’s Forum – Cvetanka Laskova.

Former SDSM vice-president Gordan Georgiev says that at first glance, changes at all levels in the party are shocking and unprecedented in party history, especially for a ruling party.

“Zaev’s intention to shock the public and thus turn the wheel in his favor and in favor of the party is obvious. I expect these changes to be welcomed by the (undecided) public, while in the party quiet tensions and discontent is possible. Of course, Zaev knows that this is only the first half and that the next step is to set up staff who will satisfy the uncommonly “hungry” public. It’s the more difficult part of the job and ultimately citizens will appreciate the whole operation. In any case, the resignation of Pavle Bogoevski and the recent changes in SDSM offer a strong precedent for all other parties. We are talking about a precedent that can not be easily neglected”, Georgiev comments for “Independent”.

Analyst Petar Arsovski also believes that the purge made by Zaev is evidence of his seriousness in the changes he wants to make, but notes that the changes he made inside the party lines were the easiest part. The more difficult part follows now with the changes in the government that should be agreed and realized with Ali Ahmeti’s party. Arsovski expects the dismissal of most of the SDSM leadership not to be in vain, and with tendency to continue on “Ilindenska”.

Professor Jove Kekenovski concludes that Zaev has completed the first stage of “sweeping the party” and now awaits for the broom to be handed to Ahmeti in the ranks of DUI.

What follows is the phase where they jointly sweep under the rug everything they didn’t clean in the purge. What worries me is that VMRO-DPMNE, even after two successive election defeats, remains “unpurged”, primarily due to the over-emphasized personal ambitions of the party’s first people powered by the mentors behind the political scene. In the name of that and for this purpose, a daily manipulative “one day at a time” policy is being conducted, Kekenovski says, passing the ball into the backyard of the opposition.

There, however, they don’t want to talk about responsibility in their ranks, and after the shifts in SDSM, they conclude that only Zaev and his deputy Radmila Sekerinska were obviously not guilty of corruption, crime, scandal and the backwardness of Macedonia.

“It is a fact that Spasovski, Kiracovski, Remenski, Zekiri, Mancevski and Shilegov were a catastrophe for SDSM, but more importantly, they are a tragedy for Macedonia. That’s why Spasovski and the other incompetent figures of Zoran Zaev must resign from the state functions, and not as incompetent party cadres to continue to take money from the budget and to ruin Macedonia. Is running a ministry such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs more simple and unimportant than being a vice president of SDSM? If Zaev does not dismiss Spasovski, Manchevski and Shilegov from the functions, it will be more than clear that the so called “broom sweep” is a big farce. As long as Zaev and Shekerinska stay, Macedonia can not go forward. “The broom sweep” is just a farce, Zaev tries to make a theater to pull the citizens’ attention away from the reality and the problems they face every day,” says a statement from Hristijan Mickoski’s party.

A part of the public was speculating an internal conflict between Zaev and Shekerinska, but the fact is that the majority of the dismissed officials are closer to the Prime Minister than to the Minister of Defense. The next few days, the party’s president is expected to propose names for the vacant places, after which we will see more clearly in which direction SDSM will continue.

Goran Adamovski