“I don’t want even want to lose a basketball match, let alone the presidential election,” said Vlatko Gjorcev from his parliamentary office on the first floor of the Parliament. Although in parliament yesterday was a regular day of activities, it was a special day for him: for the first time, he entered the Parliament as a presidential candidate. His phone is constantly ringing, he is receiving messages and support for his candidacy. His party counterpart Antonio Milososki enters the office. They greet each other and embrace.
“I wish you luck,” said Milososki.
“We will win together,” replied Gjorcev.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs was basically considered as a potential opposition candidate for the successor to Gjorge Ivanov until the last moment.
“Only Vlatko has this kind of determination, motivation and will,” said Milososki.
He explains that Gjorcev shares close views on Macedonia’s foreign policy priorities, emphasizing the 2008 Strategic Partnership Agreement with the United States, as well as the one with Turkey, the partnership relations with the EU member states, and the commitment to pro-active multilateral diplomacy in the OSCE, UN and the Council of Europe. They have known each other well since the student protests in 1997 against classes in Albanian language at the Faculty of Pedagogy.
“I appreciate that Gjorcev as a person strongly advocates the promotion of family values as a fundamental foundation in society, and as an MP, he knows greatly what it means to be directly elected by citizens as a fundamental value in democracy. The low turnout on the illegal referendum, where the majority of Macedonians clearly opposed Zaev’s imposed project for changing the constitutional name of Macedonia, was the correct attitude of Vlatko Gjorcev, but also the position of the largest number of voters in the whole country.
ince 2006, Gjorcev has successfully confirmed his electoral legitimacy, and the confidence of the voters with a winning result has been confirmed by both the third and the sixth constituency.
As VMRO-DPMNE’s secretary for international relations, Vlatko Gjorcev has gained significant experience and I appreciate that he follows the example of Boris Trajkovski, who set the track of party international contacts before being elected president.
He convinced that Vladimir Gjorcev has the potential to win the support of most of the delegates of the VMRO-DPMNE convention on February 16 in Struga.
The party’s call for candidates lasts until January 31, so it is possible to apply other candidates, with no one guaranteeing to Gjorcev that he will be an opposition candidate for the elections scheduled for April 21 and May 5.
“I do not think about it. I am convinced that I will win both among my own in the party and among the citizens of Macedonia. I would not be satisfied with a defeat with 400,000 votes, for instance. I know every inch of the country, I know how people breathe, I know what they need and I promise them I will never let them down,” he stressed.
He is a VMRO-DPMNE MP since 2006. For a short period of time in 2018, after the arrival of Hristijan Mickoski at the helm of the party, he was the coordinator of the parliamentary group. During the reign of Nikola Gruevski with VMRO-DPMNE and the country, he was mainly the bearer of the electoral lists, but was never appointed to a managerial position. The public met him during a high school protest in 1997, when he was one of the most active demonstrators. He was one of the few lawmakers who reacted during the events of April 27, 2017, when he defended the then-opposition from the attacks of the violent crowd, and received praise from the current government, as well as foreign diplomats.
“I think that Mickoski has been leading the party successfully, in conditions that were most difficult for us. I believe that the new government will be led by VMRO-DPMNE, and he will be prime minister. As for the events of 27 April, I would not want them to be used for petty points. Reconciliation cannot happen through politics, and the government must stop harassing the ones that think differently,” said Gjorcev.
Gjorcev graduated from the Faculty of Law Iustinianus Primus- Political Science Department in Skopje. He was a fellow at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a participant in the Harvard programme, particularly proud of the good contacts he has in Brussels, Berlin (he is regular guest at Angela Merkel’s CDU congresses) and Washington. Two decades ago, he was Boris Trajkovski’s assistant to the VMRO-DPMNE foreign affairs committee when the contacts with the European People’s Party first began.
“In 26-27 years, I have defeated Nikola Popovski from SDSM as the holder of the MP list in the elections in 2006, and two years later, I defeated Tito Petkovski. In fact, in the past five elections – in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2016, when my opponent was Petre Silegov, I have never suffered defeat,” notes Gjorcev.
He says the campaign team is yet to be formed. He mentions that he will lead a positive campaign, but he will not be able to keep quiet about all the “foul plays” of the current government.