Gruevski became a common wild card in the games for constitutional amendments

Hristijan Mickoski and Nikola Gruevski at the VMRO-DPMNE congress in Valandovo

SDSM is confident that VMRO-DPMNE is falling apart and announces that it will do everything for Hristijan Mickoski not to take the country hostage, and VMRO-DPMNE claims that it will get 61 deputies in the next elections and warns SDSM to ensure a peaceful handover of power!

The rhetoric between the two largest Macedonian parties has intensified in the past three days, after the leader of VMRO-DPMNE Mickoski accused former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, now a refugee and asylum seeker in Hungary, of secretly negotiating with SDSM on changes to the Criminal Code, so that the latter would help the party is fragmented and thus to secure Vmrov MPs for the constitutional amendments.
SDSM is confident that VMRO-DPMNE is falling apart and announces that it will do everything for Hristijan Mickoski not to take the country hostage, and VMRO-DPMNE claims that it will get 61 deputies in the next elections and warns SDSM to ensure a peaceful handover of power!
Although VMRO-DPMNE announced that it had evidence of Gruevski's secret communication with a high-ranking official of SDSM and a minister of DUI, they were not disclosed until yesterday, despite the appeals of Gruevski and SDSM to prove the claims.

Mickoski accuses, but does not show evidence

Instead of proof of the accusations, Mickoski said yesterday that he was appalled by the trilling SDSM-DUI-Gruevski and accused the government that in the next six months it will do everything to smear VMRO-DPMNE, which, in turn, in recent days has gained many new members that points out to Mickoski that there will be 61 MPs in the elections.

- But in that way only a kind of bad practice is created, and then we as the future government will have to control the anger that will be created in these six months and instead of working from the first day, we will have to manage the effects of a black campaign . My message to those in the Government is to be reasonable and to have a civilized European transfer of power in a few months - Mickoski said.

Hristijan Mickoski

To a journalist's question about who leads VMRO-DPMNE and whether the clash with Gruevski is a danger to the cohesion of the parliamentary group and the party, he answered that the party is led by the leadership, structures, members and activists, and that someone else is leading the party is false campaign.

- Citizens at this moment have the option to either choose the axis between DUI, SDSM and former few structures from VMRO and their secret meetings, and for Macedonia to continue sinking into crime, corruption and national defeats, or to choose reforms and a real perspective. VMRO-DPMNE has never been more united, we are burning with the desire to call parliamentary elections to show the extent of this unity, and after what is happening, the number of citizens approaching us has exceeded my expectations. We have a clear plan as to how to proceed and we will soon begin to articulate it to the public. VMRO is comfortable - Mickoski said.

When asked what if some deputies of VMRO-DPMNE vote for the constitutional amendments, Mickoski said that the 44 deputies in the parliament believe in what they are doing and if something does not change in the conditions, there will be no vote on the constitutional amendments while he is leader. And then, as prime minister, he is ready to talk with Brussels, because the previous agreement is not an agreement of the people, but, as he said, of a few corrupt politicians, who deceived the international community that they can deliver, but they can't even after 15 months.

- If someone thinks to go wild, we will defend ourselves - emphasized Mickoski.

SDSM spokeswoman Bohdanka Kuzeska said yesterday that DPMNE is falling apart and that there are big internal party problems in the White House and in the anti-EU campus.

- The public is a witness that once again the internal discord, quarrels and divisions in VMRO-DPMNE, which are culminating these days, Mickoski is trying to blame on SDSM. Attempts to create confusion in the public and the desperate need to involve SDSM in the internal divisions and quarrels in DPMNE will not help Mickoski. Citizens know this very well. Desperate Mickoski should not interfere with the SDSM in the mutual confrontation at all and resolve the quarrels himself. After all, the public is still waiting for answers from Mickoski about the deals with Gruevski. Is he hiding the demands for amnesty of his fellow party members, because of the dissatisfaction with him within his party - Kuzeska asked.

Bogdanka Kuzeska

She said that Mickoski is a pale copy of Gruevski and his blocking policy is also just a copy of the original.

- Obviously, there are structures in VMRO-DPMNE that are not satisfied with him. SDSM will do everything and will not allow Mickovski or anyone else to take our country hostage again - emphasizes Kuzeska.

Analysts tell us to buy popcorn

Analysts these days are disentangling various theses, what is the background of the Gruevski-Mickoski duel, what effect is expected from that game, whether it is a bluff or, again, a win-win-win solution served from the outside. Many are convinced that there is still an internal conflict in the opposition VMRO-DPMNE despite claims of unity.

Political scientist Petar Arsovski says that a large part of what was presented is in the realm of speculation.

- It is no secret that the government is looking for a two-thirds majority for the constitutional amendments and announced talks with all deputies individually, as well as with all those who can help in the process. Therefore, as a speculation, it is quite possible that they also spoke with the leader of VMRO-DPMNE Nikola Gruevski in Budapest. VMRO-DPMNE has a good pole position for the next parliamentary elections. But they have the opposite narrative from that of the international partners who demand that we continue negotiations for EU membership as soon as possible, and the way to that is the constitutional amendments. The narrative that is contrary to that will in any case lead to an internal conflict in the party, regardless of whether SDSM has a part in it and regardless of whether there are secret talks with Gruevski or not - says Arsovski for "Sloboden Pechat".

Petar Arsovski for Morning briefing
Petar Arsovski / Morning briefing

According to him, the current situation will show whether and how influential Gruevski really is in VMRO-DPMNE.

- But experience shows that former presidents do not fare well in parties during clashes or oppositions, that is, the membership always remains with the leader of the party in the long term, and examples of this are Ljupco Georgievski and Branko Crvenkovski. So, in the short term this can bring them some damage. If MPs are cast out and let's say ten vote for the constitutional amendments, Mickoski will suffer more damage, and VMRO-DPMNE party itself will suffer less damage. This was also shown when eight MPs left during the signing of the Prespa Agreement, after which the rating of VMRO-DPMNE continued to rise, based on their further daily activities in the field. Theoretically, everything is possible, but let's not forget that the pressure for the EU has a big impact. Let's get a bucket of popcorn until December - says Arsovski.

He expects that December is a deadline by which the government will have to make the constitutional changes, because then is the EU summit at which Ukraine is expected to open membership negotiations, and it would not be good for Macedonia to lag behind, although, theoretically, the government there is a deadline until March as the last deadline for the constitutional amendments, because then the technical government will follow before the regular elections that have rushed.

To the analyst Albert Musliu, the "Mickoski case" resembles examples when a child in elementary school gets angry with someone, and demands that all other friends also get angry with him.

- Such was the case with the mayor of Kavadarci, with the mayor of the City of Skopje. This is an internal division in VMRO-DPMNE, their internal work that escalates in a period when the state has to make an important decision about its future and when the party has to join in that decision. Maybe they have homogeneity as a parliamentary group, but surely within the party there are differences of opinion on how to overcome this problem and continue towards the EU. This thing was supposed to go by consensus, but unfortunately Mickoski missed that chance and now has to find a way to join. If he thinks that with the amendments to the Criminal Code there will be impunity for the officials, let them condition the constitutional amendments with a provision in the Constitution that there will be no stricter prosecution of the officials who abused their official position. If they approve the changes, of course it will have a reflection on the rating, but they should also be aware that their rating may suffer if we do not continue with European integration. Who will be blamed for our stagnation, the foreign factor? - says Musliu.

According to him, the Gruevski-Mickoski correspondence is an alibi for the constitutional changes to take place, and then for Gruevski to be guilty. There is an awareness in the party of the importance of the moment to continue European integration. Musliu also believes that there is nothing dramatic if someone visits Gruevski, because he has influence in Macedonia.

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