The current strategy of VMRO-DPMNE looks like they want to defend themselves from a tsunami with an umbrella. It seems that the main opposition party failed to understand that the process of full implementation of the Prespa agreement is still greater than them. The geostrategic position and the decision of the great powers and the international community, and, if you will, the majority of the citizens of Macedonia moves and will continue to move in the direction of globalization, for the EU and NATO, for the agreement, that is, the irreversible direction in which the society began to move after the change of power in the last parliamentary election. Now, the opposition is stubbornly opposed to that process, with the wrong strategies and messages, nonetheless. I think that such a position will make VMRO-DPMNE to remain devastated from this process, which does not depend on them, to be picked up piece by piece, which in turn will bring too much comfort to the existing majority, which is certainly a bad signal for the state. Here are, in my opinion, the few biggest mistakes that the opposition is currently doing.
First, their hesitation over the referendum question and the referendum will not bring them victory. The question has been expanded, and it unites NATO and the EU with an agreement with Greece, because that is the real context of the dilemma. We know that the overwhelming majority of citizens are for NATO and the EU, we should not check it – we need to check whether citizens are in favor of NATO and the EU through an agreement with Greece, in that context, with that price and specificity. That is the true reflection of the combined will of the majority. Then, there were dilemmas whether we should have been wondering about the whole deal or just about the constitutional name. Again, the wrong dilemma – the agreement is checked in full, not in a hundred parts of which the compromise is compiled. Otherwise, if we already share these parts, why not ask if you are you in favor of the Macedonian language remaining Macedonian?
Secondly, their mantra for conditioned support of the process will burst as a soap bubble in the face. Of all the conditions that VMRO-DPMNE has set, I think the political process will bring a resolution to most, and the opposition will remain with the only condition that is unavoidable to them, however, amnesty is unacceptable for the government. According to them, It’s the worst position they can be in. VMRO-DPMNE cannot benefit from that position, which is slowly pushed into the public as their only true condition. In no way will it be possible to merge that demand with patriotism, principles, national feeling or political inclusiveness. At the same time, it will not find allies for such politics, because all the domestic public and the international community will be hysterically opposed. The authorities will not be able to accept this, because, still, the involvement of VMRO-DPMNE in this process is not more important than the rule of law and the huge minus that amnesty would bring to the government.
Thirdly, their story of a boycott is also pitiful. Never, and I mean never ever, has the political actor who boycotted come out as a winner. The same is true of the processes in the parliament, as well as the planned referendum. This is why the position is insane – VMRO-DPMNE claims that the majority of citizens are opposed to the agreement, while at the same time it does not allow it to be counted. If they really had majority, they would have cheered for a referendum, instead of looking for a faster way to stall it, and they would have not worried so much about the turnout. The only logical explanation why they insist on a referendum where the only weapon would be boycott, well if they know they are a minority, and want to achieve through the boycott what they would otherwise not have the numbers for. Thus, the policy set is problematic, because the outcome of the referendum will basically surely put the VMRO-DPMNE in a disadvantageous position – to insist on ignoring the will of the apparent majority. The third, and most important problem for the opposition at the moment, is that it has no real alternative offer. They know what they do not want, but they do not know what they want. Zaev and SDSM are currently in better communication from a strategic point of view because they have a consistent and clear message.
At least they have a plan: complicated, with compromises, at times unpopular, challenging, but having an offer – they say, here’s how to make Macedonia a better place to live, through the agreement with Greece, the EU and NATO, with everything we have to sacrifice. Good or bad, cheap or expensive, it’s at least some kind of plan. On the other side… there’s nothing. The opposition has no alternative offer, which we can realistically discuss. They do not say, for instance, we will withdraw from the agreement, but we will make a strategic alliance with Russia, China, or we will go directly to recognition to the United Nations, or we will give up NATO and the EU, but the economy will move with strategic investments from, I don’t know, Irkutsk, whatever. They lack any consistent plan and vision for the future of society and the state. They do not have that essential component, and without it, I’m sorry guys, it will be difficult to oppose the plan that has price, but also concrete, immediately tangible benefits. Most voters, however, will probably choose certainty.