Topics related to the current economic and political situation were discussed at the yesterday’s session of the Executive Committee of VMRO-DPMNE. The issue of the referendum was not even opened at this session. Top-party sources admit that the upcoming referendum on a name agreement with Greece has in fact not been debated in the senior party bodies so far. At the moment, on the pretext that consultations on the decision for (non) participation in the September 30th referendum are taking place at several levels within the “Summer for Macedonia”, the party is buying time until the beginning of next month, when its final position will be unveiled.
Our interlocutors claim that at the moment there are three streams in the party, which have different opinions when it comes to plebiscites, which makes it difficult to reach a compromise solution. The pressure from the international community and the sister European People’s Party makes the lead to consider calling for a “against” vote on the name agreement with Greece, which would ensure the necessary census for the referendum to succeed. This current is reportedly the largest and is close to party president Hristijan Mickoski. Foreign partners assure that one can not be pro-European and pro-Western oriented, that NATO and EU membership should be given top priority, call for a referendum for ten years, to believe in democracy, and when the D-day comes to hide behind a boycott. Diplomacy is active in VMRO-DPMNE, which is trying to explain the harmfulness of the Prespa Agreement for the Macedonian people to Brussels and Washington DC, not only because of the change of the name, but also because of a number of other points in the agreement. However, the pressure from the outside is huge and the question is how the biggest opposition party can get rid of it.
If membership is asked, most of them would immediately reject the referendum and stay home on September 30th. In the absence of an official decision, the “White palace” votes are coming out slowly, which agree with the boycott. If the publicly expressed position of MP Antonio Milososki for the boycott of the referendum was considered an isolated case because of his dissatisfaction with the new leadership of the party, if unconfirmed information remained that entire municipal committees would boycott the referendum, even if the head office insists on another, then how to reads the column of Dimitar Dimovski, a member of the VMRO-DPMNE’s EC, who through the news site “Kurir” tells authorities that the only way for the referendum boycott does not happen is to revoke the decision of holding it?
“On top of everything, you are persistent to persuade citizens to go out to vote in a referendum for their own destruction. You shamelessly lie to them that immediately after the referendum, if it is successful, honey will begin to flow from Tabanovce, and milk will flow from Bogorodica. But you repeatedly underestimate the intelligence of the Macedonian people. The only way for the boycott of the referendum to not happen, something that you are so afraid of, is the revocation of the decision to hold it. You still have time for that, and you have a majority in parliament. The reserve version available at your disposal is to dismiss the assembly on October 1st and hold an early parliamentary election. And you have a majority for that. Then you could offer everything that you do to the people in the form of an electoral program. It’s the only honest way. The people’s vote at those early parliamentary election can be a referendum, and if you get support for such a program, implement it,” wrote Dimovski.
What both groups have in common is that they are absolutely against the agreement reached in Mala Prespa, so it is surprising that in the “White Palace” there are less requests for support of the referendum question. Leaders of that stream are the “reformers”, who after the big disagreements with the previous government of Nikola Gruevski, however, found a common language with the new leadership. With the arrival of Mickoski, among others, Kostadin Bogdanov was appointed a member of the EC, and Petar Bogoeski is deputy general secretary of VMRO-DPMNE. Bogdanov, through a column in Nezavisen/Independent newspaper, publicly urged citizens to take responsibility and not to give up their personal right to self-determination about the future and fate of the state.
The new statute of VMRO-DPMNE foresees that if a party official in the media issues a different position than the agreed one it will be considered a violation, which is why tense internal negotiations are expected until the final position is taken. According to our information, the party does not exclude the possibility to not make a decision ‘in favour’ or ‘against’, or boycotting the referendum, but just leave the citizens vote according to their own conviction.