VMRO-DPMNE presents Manifesto to resolve Political crisis
Sunday, 02 April 2017

Macedonia's conservative VMRO-DPMNE party presented a manifesto which the party said lays out a way out of the political crisis. It calls for permanent communication between the political parties, which should reject all forms of foreign interference in Macedonia, discuss modifications to the political system while at the same time rejecting changes to the 2001 Ohrid framework agreement. The Manifesto for a United Macedonia, that was announced by the party a week ago, was presented at a press conference on Sunday by VMRO-DPMNE top officials Antonio Miloshoski, Nikola Poposki and Ilija Dimovski.

"In order to reach sustainable solutions to the on-going political crisis, it is necessary to reach a transparent solution to the following questions: Whether it is important to maintain the practice of a coalition among parties that are winners within their ethnic groups as a guarantee of political stability, or should we abandon thins principle and make all members of Parliament equally valuable, with all the consequences such a move would entail? Is it acceptable for us to have foreign agendas introduces in domestic political activities, or should we only accept actions that represent the interests of the citizens? During the constitution of the Parliament, should we have the position of the Speaker given to the party or coalition that has won the elections, or should it be subject to a majority vote? We ask this, considering the need to have guarantees that the position of the Speaker will not be abused in the future to delay elections in instances when the majority of citizens demand that elections are held. Are all political factors agreed that we should maintain the multicultural model of development of Macedonia with equal promotion of all communities, or should we move toward a bi-national model, to the detriment of a number of smaller ethnic communities? Is our top priority at the moment to stabilize the country, achieve economic prosperity and European integration with unifying forces that work for all the citizens, or do we move toward redefining inter-ethnic relations?", Miloshoski said at today's press conference.

The document maintains that Macedonia remains the only homeland for the Macedonian people, who live united with all the citizens that belong to the Albanian, Turkish, Vlach, Serbian, Roma, Bosniak and other peoples. The Macedonian language is considered to be an integrating factor of all the peoples that live in Macedonia. The country will also provide for the preservation and promotion of languages of other communities, in accordance with the multicultural tradition of Macedonia, and for the right of education in the native language for all. "In the area of identity, we will protect and promote the natural, cultural and linguistic identity of the Macedonians in the country and abroad, and we will maintain a united approach against the undemocratic pressures that aim to deny the Macedonian identity. We will preserve and promote the identity and uniqueness of all our fellow citizens, Albanians, Turks, Roma, Serbs, Vlachs, Bosniaks and all the others. The diversity of our cultures is our greatest treasure, one which we need to nurture", the manifesto adds. The manifesto was written as a response to the political developments following the elections in December, after which the SDSM party is discussing to form a governing coalition with three parties that represent ethnic Albanians and have subscribed to the Tirana platform, which calls for changes to the national emblems of Macedonia and making the country fully bilingual, a move which VMRO-DPMNE warns can lead toward federalism.

Regarding the Tirana platform, the manifesto asks for a "joint rejection of all plans, platforms or agendas that are outside of our constitutional order and are opposed to the Macedonian national and strategic interests. We need to condemn any attempt for direct or indirect revisionism aimed at the Ohrid framework agreement, which is fully embedded into our Constitution".

VMRO-DPMNE's manifesto calls for steps that will bring additional political stability, such as giving whichever party wins the elections additional 20 seats in Parliament to be able to form a stable Government, or moving from the proportionate toward a majority model of electing members of Parliament, such as in the United States or the United Kingdom. The manifesto also declares that the Macedonian people will not be out-voted on issues that touch on the Macedonian identity, as no other ethnic community will find itself out-voted on matters that concern its own identity. This article of the manifesto is also a response to the SDSM push to form a coalition, which, VMRO-DPMNE has warned, will not have the support of the majority of the ethnic Macedonians who voted for VMRO-DPMNE, but will still attempt to address numerous issues that are important for the Macedonian national identity, including changing the national emblems.

The manifesto indicates that the Macedonian people and all the other ethnic groups in Macedonia will be united with "all the other Balkan peoples in a United Europe". Membership in the European Union and NATO are presented as "a unifying goal to join a place where Macedonia naturally belongs. We see the Republic of Macedonia as spiritually and culturally enjoined in the community of European peoples, and institutionally and economically as a member of the European Union". Considering that the name issue, raised by Greece, has obstructed Macedonia's EU and NATO accession, it is declared that it should be resolved during the accession process and in accordance with international law, including the 2011 verdict of the International Court of Justice. Further, regarding the name issue, the manifesto underlines the position that there will be no changing of the Constitution, and solutions that touch upon the Macedonian national identity will not be acceptable. The final decision would be put before a referendum where a majority of the citizens will need to agree with the proposal.

VMRO-DPMNE's manifesto calls for an immediate census that will allow both for better policy planning, and for a constructive dialogue on inter-ethnic issues. "The census will be a statistical and not a political operation. Therefore, it will have to be conducted in strict accordance with the Eurostat and United Nations methods and will have a mechanism to verify the permanent place of residence", the manifesto adds. The last census was held in 2002, and an attempt to hold a census in 2011 was called off due to political differences over the methodology regarding persons who live abroad.

Free market economy is named as the main driver of prosperity, and it is added that VMRO-DPMNE has shown that free market principles work, by greatly improving the business climate leading to the opening of 160.000 new jobs in the past 10 years. "We need to stay the course and this is an additional reason why we need to achieve national unity, overcome party differences and unite over the need to respect a free market system where each individual will find its place and a chance to secure his or hers livelihood, prosperity and a happy family. Opening new jobs and generating economic growth is the best welfare policy", the manifesto adds.

In conclusion, the document states that VMRO-DPMNE has developed these positions and will ask for a dialogue by the elected representatives, in order to reach a common, unifying position of all parties.


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