Gruevski: I will resign and I hope it will help resolve this crisis

Skopje, 1 December, 2017 - 17:45 (META) 

No matter what the outcome of the election analysis will be, I will resign to the organs of the party, stated the leader of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski, in an interview with “Kurir”.

“The evening after the first round of elections, I clearly stated that the party leader carries the greatest responsibility. Then in a television interview, I explained that in a team which competes, whether its politics, sports, business or in any field, the biggest responsibility by definition is carried by the first person. Those who know me well and those who understand political messages well understand me. Regardless of the outcome of the election analysis, even if objectively, my guilt is small or the least, or even the smallest, however, if it is determined that I have no objective guilt over defeat, I will resign to the organs of the party”, said Gruevski.

He says this step is part of his basic principles and values. According to him, VMRO-DPMNE will organize an urgent congress, where, in addition to the adoption of the report on the election analysis, members will be elect a new president of VMRO-DPMNE.

“I thought that even then, on the evening of October 15th, but because of the actual elections, I said it with political terminology, and that’s what I mean now, and since the two rounds of the elections have passed, the emotions of the campaign calmed down, I can say it in the most directly way or not”, added Gruevski, who said that the analysis of the election will take another two weeks, and that his resignation is not related to its outcome.

Janeva can not confirm whether the materials confiscated from Pancevski lead to Ivanov

Skopje, 6 October, 2017 - 14:28 (META) 

The Special Prosecutor’s Office started with an analysis of the materials seized during yesterday’s searches of the offices and the homes of Judge Vladimir Pancevski and two IT employees employed by the court, stated today Special Prosecutor, Katica Janeva.

The Special Prosecutor said that the seized material were handed over to the Ministry of Interior’s expert unit, but did not disclose details of yesterday’s search at the Basic Court Skopje 1, because, as she added, the data are still being analyzed.

“Our teams and the police met regarding the searches last night.Today and yesterday everything which was taken is being compiled and everything will be submitted to the Prosecution. I think what we asked for and found in the homes we took. Whether it is all we need, I can not say”, said Janeva, who today attended the debate “Couple in favor of the defendant – guilty beyond reasonable doubt”, organized by the Association for Criminal Law and Criminology of Macedonia and the OSCE Mission to Skopje.

Responding to a journalist question whether the data obtained from the former president of the Criminal Court in Skopje, Vladimir Pancevski, suggested that there was information from the court about the president of the state, Gjorge Ivanov, before his decision concerning the mass pardons in April, has been reported from the court. Janeva stated that she can not comment because the data is still being analyzed.

“I can not confirm anything because at this time, the data that was taken away is still being analyzed. Once the analysis is completed, you will be notified. I saw the articles on social networks, I can not confirm it at all, it’s just speculation and assumptions”, said Janeva.
The SPO, as Janeva announced yesterday, conducted a personal search with a court order on Vladimir Pancevski’s and with another court order all his data from the computer system for the deployment of cases in the Basic Court Skopje were confiscated.

The Special Prosecutor’s Office is conducting a pre-trial procedure and they suspect that Pancevski appointed judges to receive certain cases from the SPO. They also suspect that he has given official secrets to persons outside the court.

Hahn is sending Priebe again to help with reforms regarding the rule of law

Skopje, 7 June, 2017 - 15:31 (META) 

The EU Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, announced today that he will send again in Macedonia a group of independent legal experts led by Reinhard Priebe who will be able to help and advise the new government on issues regarding the rule of law.

The sending of the expert group, says Hahn, is part of the European Union’s readiness to work with and to help the new government in the implementation of the reforms.

“This group will include the same senior experts who prepared a report with recommendations related to the intercepted communications in 2015. Their work contributed to the Urgent Reform Priorities drawn up by the Commission which was enshrined in the Przino Agreement. The Senior Experts’ Group will visit the country soon to carry out an analysis of the current situation, follow-up on their previous findings and provide recommendations on how to address concerns in relation to systemic rule of law issues, on which there has been backsliding in recent years”, said Hahn.

The European Commissioner added that he asked the Head of the EU Delegation in the country, Samuel Žbogar to discuss with the new government for broader reform priorities related to the European Union with specific deadlines for implementation and how the EU can help with the implementation of the reforms.

“We are committed to working with the new government, as well as the opposition, to bring the country back on the path to EU integration that the citizens want and deserve”, said Hahn’s statement.

Foreign Affairs: Will Macedonia’s Nationalists Bring the Country to Ruin?

Washington, 24 May, 2017 - 18:05 (META) 

Sharp polarization brings protesters onto the street. A formal investigation looms over the most powerful figure in the nation, who acts to thwart the process. Moscow watches the situation with glee while attempting to sow doubt about the country’s institutions—indeed, about the very concept of democracy –writes the American magazine “Foreign Policy” in an extended analysis of the situation in Macedonia.

“Although the parallels are striking, the above description does not refer to the United States but to Macedonia, a small Balkan country that is rapidly proving to be an example of what happens in democracies when leaders can disregard the rule of law. As Macedonia’s stability hangs by a thread, Republican senators in the U.S. Congress have irresponsibly entered the fray—and in doing so have abetted intensified meddling from Russia. The country’s autocratic former Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, is the subject of several investigations that were launched last year by a special prosecutor” writes the magazine.

According to “Foreign Affairs,” the crisis will not end now when Zaev takes over power but it will move into another phase. forin afers

“Gruevski and VMRO-DPMNE will continue their efforts to destabilize the government and force new elections in order to avoid jail time. Once again, outside actors such as the United States, the EU, and Russia will have a critical, even decisive, influence on the tiny country, which has just two million inhabitants and is no bigger than the state of Vermont. In this volatile situation, it is critical for Washington to lead. As ever, European capitals pay only intermittent attention to the Balkans. As a start, the United States should press Berlin and Brussels to join it not just in providing aid and incentives, but in isolating, blacklisting (denying visas), and freezing the assets of actors who foment crisis and subvert democracy to gain or hold political power,” analyzes “Foreign Affairs.”

The magazine concludes that only pivotal heads in Washington, working urgently with their European counterparts, can avert the worst situation in Macedonia and the region.

Ahmeti: We should make a good decision and soon there will be a definite result

Skopje, 16 February, 2017 - 21:05 (META) 

We should make a good and solid decision, and each reaction could have fatal consequences, announced today DUI’s party leader Ali Ahmeti, after the celebrations of the 16th anniversary of the armed conflict in 2001.

Ahmeti said that the party is making all sorts of analyses, but they won’t result in a bombastic solution, but it’s about certain issues that refer to the interests of the Albanians and their legal and political status.

-I think that any quick reaction might have fatal consequences. DUI has never been a subject that has caused any problems, but on contrary, it has provided solutions. I think there will be a result soon and a definite answer. We should make a good and solid decision – said Ahmeti.

Mero Beze: Formation of the new government is heading towards failure

Tirana, 14 February, 2017 - 15:10 (META) 

The formation of the new government following the elections in Macedonia is heading towards failure, due to the fears and doubts from the Albanian factor, said Mero Baze, one of the most well known journalists in Albania in his column, where he comments and analyzes the latest political developments in Macedonia.

“DUI leader, Ali Ahmeti, who is actually the key factor in the formation of the new government, is hesitant about joining Zoran Zaev, and is looking for “written guarantees” for his requests. It seems that Ali is looking for a guarantee that the coalition will brand his party as the winner of the Albanians and the others will simply fill the ranks”, says Baze.

According to him, Ahmeti has another dilemma, and that is the Besa Movement. It is said that the party has a religious basis and is strengthening as it is based on Muslim religious rhetoric and puts religion over state. Baze says the Besa Movement is not only a threat for DUI, but also for the “de-factorizing” of Albanians in Macedonia, because they make Albanians believe more in mosques, than in political parties.

“On the other hand, around 70 thousand Albanians voted for Zoran Zaev’s party and if new elections are held, Gruevski’s party will attack exactly those votes. Even though Gruevski is the formal winner of the elections, he can not form a government alone and insists on new elections. Now all parties are inventing reasons for not forming a government, and all parties are providing ideas on how to win the next election”, adds Baze.

According to Mero Baze, it is a fact that the Albanians have become significant after the loss of several seats and the Macedonians became weaker by gaining more seats.

“If the Albanian parties do not succeed to make a government with the opposition, they will agree with the opposition to go ahead with new elections with the idea of change, and not with the idea of doubt. If not, the winner will certainly be Gruevski, and the Macedonian Albanians will deserve him”, Mero Baze wrote in his column.

Plomp: It is Very Important How State Institutions Deal With Diversity

Skopje, 5 December, 2016 - 17:38 (META) 

The LGBT rights are not part of the agenda of political parties as was indicated by the analysis of the civil society organization “Subversive Front” which was made according to the questionnaires that were sent to political parties about the coverage of LGBT problems in their platforms.

Members of “Subversive Front” have sent questionnaires to 31 political parties and have received a reply from only five parties: SDSM, Liberal party, DOM, LDP and Levica.

It is very important to fight for human rights for all and that encompasses equal rights for people that are part of the LGBT community, said Kingdom of Netherland’s ambassador, Wouter Plomp.

– In a couple of days we will be celebrating Human rights day, last week we commemorated and celebrated World Aids day. I think it is important to reflect on those days on what has been achieved and still remains to be achieved in countries and that applies to the Netherlands as well as Macedonia. It is important how state’s institutions and authorities deal with diversity. That is one of the reasons why I think it is important to stand up and speak up for rights of all human beings including LGBT community. I think good steps have been made but, as in any society, more steps can be done – said Plomp.

Autopsies of dead passengers from plane crash are now complete, identities will be confirmed

Skopje, 9 September, 2016 - 20:26 (META) 

The autopsies of the dead passengers from the aircraft that crashed near the village of Kozle are now complete, reports “Telma“.

The autopsies showed that the passengers were killed very quickly and serious mechanical damage was caused to the bodies from the crash.

Relatives of the dead passengers should arrive in Skopje soon, and DNA analysis will help identify those killed in the accident.

Not only will the Public Prosecution Skopje investigate the plane crash, but also an Italian prosecutor from Treviso will assist in the investigation.

Six people, five men, and one woman were killed in the “Piper” plane accident on September 6 when the aircraft crashed near the airport “Alexander the Great”, near the village of Kozle.

“Foreign Affairs”: Brexit could separate Macedonia from its path towards the EU, and push it into conflict

Skopje, 8 July, 2016 - 17:53 (META) 

Major events in Europe, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, tend to incite violence in the Balkans, says the magazine “Foreign Affairs” in an analysis of the impact of Brexit in the Balkans and its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

“When the Berlin Wall came down, it landed in Yugoslavia”, opens the article.

In Macedonia, according to them, certain forces have reappeared that nearly pushed the country into a war for its potential decay.

“Thanks to Greece’s veto of Macedonia’s aspirations to the EU and NATO, political development in the country is at a standstill, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski has fueled the country with chauvinist forces, initiating what he calls “rebranding the nation”. That is the return of the Macedonian identity from ancient times, and this project will not only create anger among the Albanian minority but cause deep divisions between Macedonians. Gruevski’s regime has labeled opponents as mercenaries and national traitors”, according to the analysis of “Foreign Affairs”.

It states that the current government is destroying the media, prosecuting political opponents, capturing state institutions, installing party members in key judicial and prosecutorial positions. Writing about the published wiretapped conversations where corruption was discovered of high-ranking government officials, Nikola Gruevski, under pressure from the EU and the opposition was persuaded to withdraw.

“However, he and his party colleagues, including the President, have obstructed the implementation of the agreement to hold free and fair elections and the acceptance of the legitimacy of the Special Public Prosecution’s Office, the judicial body created to investigate the crimes discovered in the wiretapped conversations. Gruevski benefited from the migrant crisis, allowing pro-government media outlets to blame the EU for neglecting Macedonia during the crisis, which shook the continent. At the same time, Gruevski spread fear around of a possible Islamisation of the country, where there is a significant number of Muslims. There is a real danger of an internal confrontation in Macedonia which could grow into a wider ethnic conflict. The creation of a clear timetable for Macedonia’s membership in the EU could remove superficial obstacles (such as, opposition from Greece, and now from Bulgaria over the name “Macedonia”) and a needed boost for the reform process, and to reduce some of these internal disputes regarding the future of the country”, reads the analysis.

SEC received un-cleansed databases from institutions

Skopje, 25 February, 2016 - 18:38 (META) 

“The State Election Commission from institutions received unclean and different data from different databases. From some institutions they received less data, and from others – more than what was required. However, it was decided to use a total of 11 databases from 11 different institutions”, said Michael Burg, an IT expert from the USA, and member of the SEC’s expert group, at today’s meeting of the SEC.

Expert Atanas Urumov proposed the plan for cross-checking data-bases to add another perspective, which according to him, will help them locate suspicious voters, this way the SEC can look at these names first and approve them, and then begin with spot checks.
According to the plan, part of the suspicious categories which will need to be checked on the voter lists are the deceased names, then they will need to look at voters who are registered as living at the same address, citizens who do not have permanent residence in Macedonia, phantom voters and voters who have been registered at two polling stations.

Silvana Boneva, a member of the SEC and the VMRO-DPMNE party, said she doubted the validation and was afraid that the process would be prolonged, therefore delaying the cleansing of the electoral roll.
Bedredin Ibrahimi, a member of the SEC and the DPA party said that there might not be any phantom voters and the electoral list is correct.