The "battle" for new buses continues while citizens are begging for normal transportation

Danela Arsovska at a session of the Skopje City Council / Photo: Sloboden Pechat/Dragan Mitreski

The City of Skopje accused today that the President of the Council, Trajko Slaveski, contrary to the Rules of Procedure and the Statute, did not put the proposal for the purchase of new environmentally friendly buses on the agenda for the next session, and Slaveski told "Free Press" that the Rules of Procedure are interpreted by the president of the Council and that putting the same proposal on the agenda for the 18th time is the standard definition of insanity when the same thing is repeated with the expectation that the end result will be different.

The mayor Danela Arsovskand again at the next session of the Council, he proposes that the councilors vote for the purchase of new ecological buses with a loan from the City of Skopje to a local bank, a proposal that the councilors have voted for about 20 times so far and did not vote for. But the President of the Council, Trajko Slaveski, kept his word and this proposal was not on the agenda for the next 49th session, which will be held on Wednesday, June 19.

After the last vote at the last session, when for the umpteenth time the proposal was supported by only a few councilors, Slaveski categorically said that while he is the president of the Council, he will not allow this item to be on the agenda of a session again.

For the City of Skopje and for the Mayor Danela Arsovska, who constantly blames the councilors of VMRO-DPMNE for the situation in the City, this represents a violation of the Council's rules of procedure.

 Although a decision on new buses for the next session has been submitted, the President of the Council, Trajko Slaveski, contrary to the Rules of Procedure and the Statute, does not put the item on the agenda for voting at all, thus increasing the dissatisfaction of the citizens of Skopje due to the dilapidated buses. The sole responsibility after more than two years for the lack of buses in public transport lies with the councilors from VMRO-DPMNE, who are the authority and the majority in the City of Skopje and on whom it depends whether there will be new eco buses and better transport - says the announcement from the City of Skopje .

From there, they also claim that Arsovska, in order to encourage the councilors from VMRO DPMNE to vote for the realization of the promises they have made for new buses, proposes to them at every session that the bank that will finance the project as well as the procurement conditions should choose the councilors themselves. because only they can make this decision and help Skopje citizens not to wait even a minute longer at the bus stations.

Arsovska does not back down: Buses will be an item on the agenda at every session until councilors vote on it

Regardless of the City's claim, all those who follow the Council meetings know that the mayor has not appeared at the last meetings, and even before that she attended very rarely. He gave the last explanation regarding the possible way of borrowing the buses almost two years ago, when this proposal was first on the agenda.

Trajko Slaveski says that there is no violation of the Rules of Procedure of the Council, because the Rules of Procedure are interpreted by the President of the Council.

I also said at the previous session, 18 times that the same text that does not pass the councilors is proposed on the agenda, that is the standard definition of insanity – to repeat the same thing with the expectation that the result will be different. So far, only 6-7 councilors have expressed their opinion on this point, and we are 45. Regarding the fact that I am working contrary to the Rules of Procedure, the Rules state that the President of the Council interprets the Rules of Procedure, so I can decide whether any point will be found on the agenda or not. At the next session, if someone thinks it should, he can propose it on the agenda, so if he gets the support of the majority of councilors, in that case it will be part of the agenda - says Slaveski for "Sloboden Pechat".

According to him, the mayor constantly accuses VMRO-DPMNE councilors of not voting, but SDSM and other councilors do not vote either, only a very small number of councilors give their support.

Arsovska was left without new buses, the council did not give permission to buy them with a bank loan

In the fall, Arsovska boasted that the promised free public transportation for all citizens will be included in the budget for 2024. But when the budget was presented at a session before the councilors, it did not include funds for the purchase of new buses, which is one of the conditions for providing free transportation.

If Arsovska had foreseen funds for the purchase of buses in the 2024 budget, we would have voted. But he did not predict - says Slaveski.

In her pre-election program "For a modern Skopje", the mayor also promised 250 new environmentally friendly buses in addition to free transportation.

In order to reduce the pollution of the capital, we envisage a transition to fully ecological public transport. Our goal is more efficient execution of public transport, as well as environmental protection. In cooperation with the central government and international partners, we are committed to changing the bus fleet with environmentally friendly natural gas and electric buses - it says in Arsovska's program.

Nowhere in the program was it specified that the City of Skopje will purchase new buses and that is credit borrowing, and international partners are no longer mentioned.

However, the city management once again seeks the blame at VMRO-DPMNE.

The president of VMRO DPMNE Hristijan Mickoski personally promised new buses for the people of Skopje, for which he even announced that he was negotiating with a company for the purchase of 100 electric buses, but until now, for more than 2,5 years, that promise has not been realized, as well as his promise for a total of 250 new buses from the program for Skopje, which he personally continuously declares that he supports - emphasizes the City.

In the meantime, while the mutual "battle" of the mayor and councilors continues, Skopje residents ride in ancient buses, which are also without air conditioning, dirty and irregular. And it doesn't concern them who is guilty or who is right - they want a normal service for the money they pay daily for public transport. Some of them still hope to get the free transportation promised by Arsovska.

The city of Skopje also wants new buses and the introduction of BRT: Is there a plan in which direction the city transport will develop?

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