While Macedonia lives in national euphoria, with all its accompanying elements, such as praise and condemnation of the name agreement, the impression that the head of state Gjorge Ivanov is performing his duty on the other side of history is unavoidable. As the highest representatives of the governments of Macedonia and Greece, as well as the high guests from the EC and the UN, marked the crucial moment in overcoming the long-standing dispute this weekend in Prespa, Ivanov is trying to stall the implementation of the agreement.
The famous Njegoš in his “The Mountain Wreath” will note: “The one who stands higher on the hill, has a better view than those below the hill.” But this metaphor does not seem to apply to the Macedonian head of state. And from the aspect of the location on which his residence is located, on the mountain slopes of Vodno, opposited the flat and surrounded by mountains Prespa. And from the aspect of his “duration” at the top of the country, in spite of the “one-year” lineup of “Ilindenska”, which in the past months has made all its efforts in finding a solution to the dispute that has been “dragged” for two and a half decades through negotiating labyrinths in the UN.
From the height on which he has been maintaining for almost a decade, the president failed to see the big picture of the agreement, which was signed in a celebratory mood near Prespa Lake. And which, in fact, has been imposed as a “necessary evil” for achieving the strategic goals of our country around which, at least declaratively, there are no disagreements between the main parties and factors on the domestic political scene. In this case, Ivanov again has the full right to veto the law on ratifying the agreement with Greece, if he sincerely believes that it is harmful to the state. But he has no right to violate the Constitution with “absolute vetoes”, which do not exist in domestic legal matter. There are other institutions in the country and abroad that need to deal with the assessment of the constitutionality of certain legal solutions, and which they can not do while Ivanov keeps the parliamentary decisions that he disagrees with in the drawer.
Ivanov also has the right to state his position clearly and loudly about such an important document as the agreement with Athens. But it does not have the right to prevent the announced referendum vote and prevent the citizens from choosing whether to maintain the name or state membership in NATO and the EU under the new name “Republic of North Macedonia”.
Ivanov has the right to vote “against” or not to go to the referendum, but he has no right before his appointment to act as the main opposition, while performing the formally highest post in the executive power in the country. Let’s recall the constructive role that former President Boris Trajkovski had in the negotiations and the adoption of the Framework Agreement, as opposed to the “hobbies” set by his then ruling VMRO-DPMNE. Or the co-operativity of incumbent Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and his adherence to the country’s constitution, despite the tumultuous reactions of his New Democracy party to the agreement reached by Tsipras and Zaev.
In contrast, Ivanov, especially in recent years, persistently imposes himself as a brake on the key political upheavals in the country, while juggling on the verge of what is allowed by the Constitution. That is why he became the first president in Macedonia who went through an impeachment, and later, with collective abolition, he tried to obstruct the Przino Agreement, that is, his key point – the formation of the SPO.
Now Ivanov has a short while to put the last obstacle on the country’s road to Brussels. But one should keep in mind that the forthcoming referendum on the name will determine the further course of many political careers, whether he intends to continue to deal with politics or after the end of his term will write memoirs.
The only unsuccessful referendum or rejection of the referendum issue in the autumn may be justification for Ivanov to remain in office until the end of his term. A successful referendum, meanwhile, will mean a complete defeat of his policies, and the least he can do is to resign from office – as a symbolic gesture that he got the message from the citizens because without this, his months in the presidential palace are numbered. As current Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and his closest companions in the negotiations with Greece will have to leave ‘Ilindenska’ if the referendum fails, after all concessions and maneuvers that were made to achieve this “historic agreement”.
Aleksandra M. Mitevska