VMRO-DPMNE won the elections, but finds itself in opposition. We won’t discuss or review the fact that these were the most fraudulent elections since the 1990’s, hands down, with millions of euros spent on bribing ethnic albanians in villages in Western Macedonia, to the massive bribing scheme which unfolded in Berovo and Delchevo involving the Roma population.
Or the fact thousands of elderly Kosovars were brought in during the weekend the vote took place, because of a loose policy not to ask (bother) the elderly for an ID, particularly in western Macedonia. Case in point was the 80 year old woman the SDS and BESA brought in as a “witness” for voting irregularity, only to realize that it was her who committed fraud, by voting as she wasn’t a Macedonian citizen.
But, despite all this, VMRO-DPMNE received about 450,000 votes. Keep in mind 30,000 votes cast for VMRO-DPMNE were nullified as “damaged” because someone added a simple pencil line over the ballot after it was cast. Fraud was everywhere, and VMRO-DPMNE still won.
What most foreign observers who report on Macedonia don’t and will never be able to understand is that VMRO-DPMNE will get roughly half a million votes, no matter what. This is primarily due to the reason VMRO-DPMNE is not a political party, rather an ideology that dates back 150 years, an ideology to which many Macedonians subscribe. Perhaps not so much today, but in the not too distant past patriotism and being Macedonian went together with the word VMRO. The two are one and the same.
While many believe VMRO-DPMNE started “losing” after the Przino Agreement, the process actually begun in 2009, 2010.
The VMRO-DPMNE leadership begun to lose touch with reality when they tried to drastically increase the Macedonian budget in order to achieve hundreds of their projects which they had vowed to implement.
But in order to build sports halls literally in every village, hospitals in every town, dozens of highways, for all this… you need money. To get money, you can either get a massive unfavorable loan, or tax the hell out of your people.
VMRO-DPMNE opted for the second.
In no particular order, I’ll list why at least 100,000 Macedonians voted against VMRO-DPMNE by giving their vote to SDS even though they are not affiliated in any way with the former communist party. All they were doing, at least in their mind, was punishing VMRO-DPMNE.
– VMRO-DPMNE introduced fines of 150 euros for littering, which included (no joke) dirty car tires. If you have mud on your tires and drive in the city, it’s 150 euro fine. Many, many people were fined using this law. In Paris and London fines are roughly 100 euros, but since Macedonia is more developed than both the UK and France, 150 euros seemed logical?
– VMRO-DPMNE barred thousands of small shops around the country from selling alcohol. Think carefully about this one. Mom and pop stores which are pretty much on every street corner and kept few bottles of wine, vodka and beer, could no longer sell this and were required to pay 2000 euros liquor license. As a result, small businesses suffered, while residents were forced on extended trips to mega stores (chain stores) who can afford the license and get few beers there. With this move, VMRO-DPMNE managed to kill small businesses in favor of K-Mart type stores and infuriated the public at the same time.
– VMRO-DPMNE introduced property tax which is now on average 40 euros per year. In ten years, I can safely predict the property tax will be 500 euros. Everything that’s utterly terrible in the West, the VMRO-DPMNE copied and brought in Macedonia.
– VMRO-DPMNE introduced and legalized “enforcers” that have terrorized the public for years. These are private organizations who can access your Bank account without your knowledge under the guise that you allegedly owe money to someone. Case in point, my own father received a bill from EVN in 2016 that he has allegedly failed to pay his utility bill for two months back in 2006. This in itself is a huge red flag. Luckily, my father kept all his receipts in an envelope and found the bills that he allegedly skipped on as paid in full. When he confronted EVN, they ignored him, didn’t even apologize. It was clear, they simply made up the bill, hence the 10 year gap! While he was in the EVN office, another outraged Macedonian who couldn’t find his receipt and had his bank account frozen, ended up taking EVN’s computer and tossing it outside the window after the secretary told him there is not much he could do, this is all legal!?
Latas in an iterview with Janko Ilkovski at one point stated over 40,000 Macedonians have been muzzled out of their money by these organizations who make a cut.
– VMRO-DPMNE spent 200m euros (some claim much more) on monuments. Could and should have purchased dozens of fighter planes and helicopters/tanks; monuments in general have a tough time guarding borders.
– VMRO-DPMNE was infiltrated by SDS activists at a local and national level. This happens after you’ve been in power for an extended time, one gets blinded when you easily win elections. It’s how someone like Dimitrov and Popovski became Foreign Ministers, not to mention the likes of DM Jolevski.
– VMRO-DPMNE brought investors, and this is absolutely great. However, the same investors blackmailed VMRO-DPMNE they would invest in Macedonia only if the minimum salary is kept at 130 euros. Gruevski bowed to the pressure (what else is new) and turned Macedonia into a sweat shop. In Kavadarci’s Daimler, people are paid 175 euros/month for QA jobs, while for the same job in Germany their counterparts get 3,000 euros/month.
I can go on forever, but you get the idea. The VMRO-DPMNE leadership infuriated a lot of people, lost complete touch with reality nearly 8 years ago. This was accelerated once Gruevski bowed down to pressure from his strategic partners and removed key members from his cabinet, essentially the team that made him successful: Jankulovska, Stavrevski, Mijalkov, and most of all his chief advisor Protugjerov. In the end, perhaps fittingly, Gruevski signed a capitulation dubbed as an “agreement” to remove himself from power. This is the same as going to a guillotine and pull the rope yourself. Stunningly embarrassing for someone like Gruevski.
This is how one gets 450,000 votes, and not 750,000 as they should get during every election cycle. The tragedy in all this is the VMRO-DPMNE leadership continue to be lost somewhere in the ether with no sign of ever coming back to earth.