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VMRO-DPMNE President Nikola Gruevski announced that the party will present a document outlining a way out of the political crisis. Gruevski said that the document will be prepared this week, and will be shared with all the major parties.
“It will not put any political party or ethnic community in a more favorable position. Its acceptance by the political parties will allow us to keep the unitary character of our country and to avoid the ruination of the state which we worked so hard to gain”, Gruevski said on a Sunday evening interview with Kanal 5.
According to Gruevski, the most direct way out remains to hold early elections, after the vote on December 11th delivered an inconclusive Parliament and several ethnic Albanian parties opted for a coalition that will leave majority ethnic Macedonians in the opposition. Gruevski also said that his other offer to the SDSM party stands, and that VMRO-DPMNE will support a minority Government led by SDSM, including its expected political purges and mock trials, if only SDSM rejects the Tirana platform – a controversial document that would push for changing Macedonia’s name, national emblems and inter-ethnic relations.
“A poll we conducted recently shows that 70 percent of ethnic Macedonians want early elections and only 12-13 percent are opposed. That means that many of the people who supported SDSM in December are also now for a new election. SDSM leader Zoran Zaev can present the Tirana platform at these new elections, he can stand behind it, and if he wins the support of his voters, then fine. We also offer Zaev to have a Government with all-SDSM ministers, supported by VMRO-DPMNE, on the condition he stops the process of introducing a bi-national character in Macedonia and a solution to the name issue under Greek terms”, Gruevski said, adding that the demands to redefine Macedonia and to change the name are not new, but so far, those pushing these issues were unable to find a person like Zaev who would be willing to implement them.
VMRO-DPMNE has argued that the Tirana platform would destroy the cohesive element of Macedonian society, inflame nationalism and lead to creation of federal units and possible future partition of the country.
“We live in historic times in which there is a push for the destruction of our country. We may end up being stateless. Only the people can defend the state. This is a challenging time, and I have the obligation to do all that is in my power to warn the people of what it going on, encourage them and to inform them”, said Gruevski. Tens of thousands have protested across Macedonia for three weeks now, against the creation of an SDSM led Government based on the Tirana platform, while President Gjorge Ivanov refused to give Zaev the mandate. SDSM is expected to make an attempt to elect a Parliament Speaker this week, and the main protests are focused around the Parliament building. European Commissioner Johannes Hahn and several members of the European Parliament are expected to come as mediators on Tuesday. Gruevski said that he will ask Commissioner Hahn to condemn the Tirana platform as meddling in Macedonia’s internal affairs on the part of Albania, and to support the old, unwritten principle of Macedonian politics that the winning parties among the two largest ethnic groups should go on and form the next Government – in this case it would mean VMRO-DPMNE and DUI.
In his interview, Gruevski added that SDSM is expanding its campaign of intimidation toward media outlets, citing the recently filed charges against several companies that own TV stations. According to Gruevski, the Special Prosecutor’s Office is clearly under SDSM control, and it is likely that they will try to perform coordinated actions in the coming period – against both media outlets that are critical of SDSM and report on the protests against the Tirana platform, and against VMRO-DPMNE officials.
The long serving former Prime Minister said that, even with all the political pressures the country is faced with, the economic foundations laid by VMRO-DPMNE have held firm and major infrastructure projects such as the gas pipeline between Skopje, Tetovo and Gostivar, or the express ways to the border with Bulgaria and between Stip and Kocani continue to be implemented. Gruevski cited the economic record of his Governments, saying that it was an unprecedented period of economic growth and reduction of unemployment for Macedonia.