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Jakimovski: If SDSM wants election debacle, let them clear up with Crvenkovski

I guarantee that, whether now or next year, the main opposition party will not do so well at the elections. I want to tell them that GROM will be so strong, that next year will take a big part of the pie of political voices in Macedonia


He won the local elections in Karposh as candidate of … after which he formed his own party, GROM. After a quarrel with the leader at the time, Branko Crvenkovski, the partnership between Stevce Jakimovski and SDSM has come to an end. In last minute, he decided to run  for mayor of Karposh, besides the party’s decision SDSM not to go out on the local elections (although, in the end, the opposition participated in the elections). He won the elections easily, and after the elections in an interview with “Republika” he send a message that no apology that was going to bring him back to SDSM. Then, we talked to him about the possibility to establish a party with Vlado Buchkovski, another “dissident” from SDSM.  Although, Buckovski has announced that a cooperation was possible, Jakimovski made clear that would not happen.  Few months later, he establishes GROM. He says, the difference between him and Buchkovski, unlike to the former leader of SDSM, he has come out as a winner. Beside quarrels with Crvenkovski, he is convinced that without him, the party will experience debacle, not only on these elections, but also on the next. He is convinced that SDSM creates its own problems, i.e. when there are no enemies from outside; the party creates them inside the membership. As a reason – defamation and intrigues, which derive from the high management and are transferred lower towards the membership itself.

With the amendments to the Electoral Code, each party should have a free public presentation according to the success achieved in the last elections. Where are the new parties here?

Jakimovski: Here we can see the incorrect attitude and whining habit of SDSM. They whined and whined, but they whined about the advantage of the ruling party over the opposition. And they did not mention anywhere their advantage in regard to the new political parties, which did not participate in the last elections. What SDSM wants to say? That GROM does not exist?  That GROM will not have MPs? That GROM does not have ratings? Where is the correction and the reality of SDSM when it performed and complained all the time about the new Election Code, made by SDSM’s template? By which logic, the political parties that did not participate in the previous elections are not correct in the public representation, i.e. informing the citizens of the public service broadcasting. That is absolutely incorrect. How do we know that SDSM will take MPs? What if they do not take any? That means that on each new elections we are starting from scratch. Second, as political parties, we do not have members in the electoral boards. We can only have observers. The whole struggle they did, they did it in order to achieve an advantage over the ruling party, but at the same time over the parties that recently appeared now on the political scene. It is noticeable how they act towards the parties which they consider as weaker. Or at least they see themselves as stronger in their minds.

The presidential elections are to come, while you are talking about parliament elections. Let us first talk about the presidential, which are already certain. Will GROM have its own candidate or will support someone else’s candidate?

Jakimovski: We do not intend to support someone else’s candidate. We want to run our own candidate, the party has the capacity to collect signatures. Actually, to the public and to those who do not perceive us with the new Electoral Code, by collecting 10.000 signatures it will become clear to them whether the party has the power or not. The one who has no power, they will not collect 10.000 signatures either, which means that we will have our own candidate.


How big is your membership? In which areas you are active the most?

Jakimovski:: I have to say that GROM has over 20,000 members. A week ago, you saw how the “Universal Hall” was too small to accommodate those 3,500 young people. The march on “Partizanska” showed how many young people are joining to the party. Until the elections, we will have over 25.000 members, which is enough to cover the whole territory of the Republic of Macedonia.

What does if there are early parliamentary elections mean?

Jakimovski: Anything over five MPs is a success for us, starting from the fact that GROM was established on 28 September. Anything less than five MPs presents a failure for us. Our expectations are five MPs and over.

Here raises the question, if eventual early elections, with whom would you make a coalition?

Jakimovski: There will not be any pre-election coalitions  with neither of the major parties. Coalition with the smaller ones yes, but not with the major parties. However, in regard to coalition with the ruling and the main opposition party, only a post-election coalition is possible.

With which of the Albanian parties do you have good relations? With whom would you make a coalition?

Jakimovski:: Only a coalition after the elections is possible, depending on how many votes it will take in the Macedonian and the Albanian block. My opinion is that GROM is ready to make pre-election coalition with an Albanian party.

I assume that you already have a program with which you will represent yourself before the citizens. What is the main message from GROM?

Jakimovski: It is still in progress. The main thing that GROM wants to send out to the citizens, is that we want to guide a policy, which means more money for the citizens and the enterprises, and less for the government, because the government can easily earn money, let alone to spend them. Today we have an example of how easily earned money can be more easily spend for non-economic investments. GROM considers that ethic stability is the most important for the stability in Macedonia. Without it, there is no political stability, without political stability, there is no security stability, and without security stability there is no political stability, and Macedonia cannot have economic prosperity. That is why GROM is a multiethnic party, which has citizens from different nationalities in its ranks. We have Albanian vice-president. The next message is decentralization of the activities in Skopje compared to the other cities in Macedonia. We disagree with the fact that several hundred millions of euros were invest on one square mile in the central area. With those assets, we can make much more for the citizens who live outside Skopje. We believe that there is a life everywhere, from Zvegor in Delcevo to Radozda, from Lisec on the Šar Mountains to Gevgelija. We as a country have to provide approximately equal infrastructural conditions, educational, conditions for culture and sport for all citizens in Macedonia. The entire investment that is made in Skopje is incorrect, even though it is the main administrative, cultural, educational and sports center. We have to look after all citizens, because the moving that is happening now, can lead us to a situation not only of desolate villages, but also of desolate cities within some fifteen years. I ask openly, how many citizens have Pehcevo, Demir Hisar, Kratovo? What is the economic activity, what are the conditions for asocial upgrading of thepeople that live there, what are the perspectives of the young people from those places?

You raised the question by yourself –  fight against unemployment. That is one of the most important question, as well as the name issue.

Jakimovski:We believe that a wrong philosophy has been imposed In Macedonia, the expectation of the people to be a part of the administration, to be employed in administration and all their perspective to be  EUR 250-300 administrative salary. However, the administration has limited capacity, and cannot spread indefinitely. We consider that the perspectives of the citizens should be in the private sector. They have indefinite opportunities for expansion. Second, we should support and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of the citizens, the young to be those who will create income and who will employ people, and not just wait to be employed. We consider that by a relaxing monetary-credit policy, relaxing tax policy, by reducing the budget expenditures there will be more assets in enterprises, entrepreneurs, and the funds will be invested not only in simple, but also in extended reproduction, thereby creating new work places, conquering new markets, investing in marketing… The present concept, all money to be within the government which allocates the resources, and every government does that incorrectly, is automatically preventing the development of the economy, insolvency appears, the production processes and services are hard to maintained, and, naturally, work positions close, which means that serious corrections should be made in the monetary, fiscal and budget policy as well as encouragement of entrepreneurship – the basic conditions for revival of the economy.

Do you have any plans for all that?

Jakimovski: Yes, we do have a plan for agriculture as well. In 2006, the agriculture participated with 11,3 % of the GDP. Today, it takes part with 9, 3%. Every year we say that we invest EUR 140 million in agriculture. That shows that either the money was not been given or has gone in the wrong hands. We believe that stimulations and subsidies should contribute to reduction of the prices in the production of the farmers, higher profits and we, who are not farmers, to have cheaper food on our tables. At the same time, our products to be competitive on the European and world markets. Therefore, I think that the right policy would be if the farmers took oil with no taxes and excises, if the seed would be tax-free, as well as the fertilizer and the pesticides, if they do not pay fee for water and if there is no payment for the tax on income from the agriculture. That is why we think that, the agriculture is a low- accumulative branch and we think that we should not make something from nothing and that is exactly, what we plan to do with our farmers.


What about the name issue?

Jakimovski: Our attitude for the name is clear. We do not accept any change of the name, nor the Prime Minister’s conspiracy for referendum. We do not approve that. Macedonia did not get the name on a referendum. That is our primeval name, which belongs to us since long time ago and our question is  – on which referendum did we got the name and is there any logic to confirm or to give the name away. Macedonia has done enough in the name issue with Greece, by changing the Constitution and giving up from the support from our national minorities in the neighboring countries. We have made a concession by changing the flag, i.e. we removed the flag with Vergina. And this flag, just to remind, is Grcev’s  flag , it has not been ours for millenniums. We got the dispute in front of the international court in Hague, a court financed by the European Union, formed to solicit justice in such disputes between countries, between nations.  We think that we should not be adamantine in the future, instead we should show positive energy, and that positive energy is to be Republic of Macedonia for all, to reach an agreement with Greece, as how she will address us in internal communication, because 137 countries have recognized us under our constitutional name, including USA and Russia, and I think that Macedonia have made enough concessions. But, here in the internal communication, if that Is a problem, we will make an agreement about how they will address us. Here we should be directed towards our diplomacy, lobbying towards foreign countries. Before the other day, we saw how an American congressional representative seriously talked about an issue even though he was advised by the Greeks. He says, am I not smart enough or is this absurd situation on the name Macedonia. However, Macedonia must resolve all issues with its neighbors – Serbia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Greece. The name issue should remain an isolated problem , cherishing the good neighborly relations with Greece. I greet Minister of Defense’s visit to Greece, I support all the contacts that we have, but the name we should leave as an absurd matter about which the Greeks are creating problem on international scene.

If you win the parliamentary elections, would you accept a name change for Euro-Atlantic integration?

Jakimovski: No, we would not. To say it clearly – GROM will neither advocate nor accept changing the constitutional name. Here, our positions are clear and there are no calculations. We have so much more to work on other segments. Now, Venizelos does not put the name as a key problem. He puts the problem with dysfunctional democracy, the May contract, the problem with non-freedom of the media. For us, the Macedonians, it is necessary to have justice and legal state, a security system that will protect the citizens, to have independent judiciary, effective and not so enormous administration, procedures by European standards, to have quality of life, quality food, good air. If we have this, there is no one else, having to tell us what to do or not do.

Let us return to Macedonian political scene. Here is the party of Vlado Buckovski. Both of you came out from the same core. Is overlap of the core and post-election coalition with them possible to happen?

Jakimovski:There is a difference. I came out as a winner, unlike SDSM. There is a difference between Mr. Buckovski and me. He was not candidate for MP on the parliamentary elections in 2011. That means there is a difference in the approach. Second, we will have overlapping in the program, however, it depends on how that offer is announced I how much the citizens have a confidence in you, and how much credibility do you have in that what are you speaking in front of the citizens. Whether they believe that you will realize what you are speaking of?

We have mentioned the core. You came out from SDSM; you know each other for a long time. Do you expect any black campaign from them for you?

Jakimovski: I do not think that they will have time to deal with me. Gruevski remains as their main problem, not Stevce Jakimovski. I can see that SDSM tried with several offers, which sound silly, like returning the middle class, the offer to return VAT to the citizens, shopping week without VAT and so on. It realized that it it has no effect whatsoever and so it returned back to criticism and black campaign, meaning it re-entered in the same field, which VMRO-DPMNE had. I want to say clearly that GROM will run extremely positive campaign; we want to convey the project from Karposh across the whole country. Let them attack,and we will tell what are our visions for the Republic of Macedonia.

So, your knowledge of SDSM will not be used against them in a black campaign?

Jakimovski: I have my own considerations about what will happen and how SDSM will work, but that is not my concern. It should be their membership’s concern. To me it is important to be represented to the citizens as a serious party, party that if it gains the authority, will realize its promises.

In two or three occasions, you mentioned that you have a feeling that SDSM is copping you?  

Jakimovski: Absolutely, and that can be seen in many occasions, in the segments of the program that GROM has. In addition, we are glad. Why not? Not just SDSM, anyone who sees something good in our program, should feel free to interpret. Considering the fact that  they have much more media space than GROM, we constantly see how they complain that they have been obstructed, that they have no media space, and they care not at all, if GROM has an event that has not been followed by the media, even from a national broadcaster. They do not worry about that at all. Naturally, GROM takes part from their electoral body as well. And we can see how they relate to the parties that are not in their camp. So, if now is VMRO-DPMNE, tomorrow SDSM, they will behave in the same way about the the media issue.

How do you interpret recent developments in SDSM regarding disputes between MPs and leadership? Here, I would like to mention that You, Cvetkovski, Buckovski came out of the party. Therefore, if someone does not agree with the policies of the party then they receive a message then they should leave. Is there any democratic idea in the new leadership or everything is just how it was before?

Jakimovski: Indeed, SDSM is not my concern. However, since you already ask me, the party has a problem as they have an autoimmune disease. And when there are no problems and enemies from nowhere they will create them inside, within the structure of their party. Look at VMRO-DPMNE. In all these eight years, was there any internal conflict ? Everything has been kept within the circle of the party. Whether SDSM is in power or in opposition,there are disputes among them. That is a result of the court- like games that exist inside, coming from the very top of the party and spreading down to the membership. And, naturally, as a result of that, animosities are created or excessive wills of certain cadres in the party and, predictably, comes to such separation. My opinion is that Zaev and Shekerinska will enter into a conflict with people close to Branko Crvenkovski and that the next conflict will be between Zaev and Shekerinska.

Has the party capacity to clear up with the past and Crvenkovski with its current structure?

Jakimovski:: Hardly anyone can easily clear up with Crvenkovski. Whoever thinks like that is wrong. In that case, it would undermine the party. Crvenkovski has its own fans and supporters, no matter if they are in the party or out of the party. If SDSM is ready for election debacle, even on the next elections, then they can perform such clearing. If not, let them bear the consequences caused by Crvenkovski. Part of the membership, the cadres in high politics, normally that they would make obstructions and boycotts in the elections and in the functioning of the party, which will certainly demage the whole party.

Does that leave a space for Crvenkovski ‘s spectacular return as the head of the party?

Jakimovski: I think that here it is about another name that is supposed to be a president of SDSM, after the removal of Zaev, and who will be a man of Branko Crvenkovski.

You have been involved in politics for years now. What do you think, will there be early elections?

Jakimovski: Early parliamentary elections were a logical sequence of events, and indeed, would be politically immature if someone is not expecting it. We know that VMRO-DPMNE accepted all remarks from SDSM about the Election Code, broke all their trump cards and now, of course, they would call for an early parliamentary elections. Now, we see that SDSM requires right to try the law on the presidential elections, to see how the law  functions.So, if they do not like something, to ask for corrections again. What I want to say is that the election law is not a production process, so we could try it. The election law is a law that is passing by consensus and if we think well for this country, we will not make elections every year. Second, we will unblock these closed political processes. In my opinion, if VMRO – DPMNE won again, we should close our mouths and let us have a peaceful post-election period. In addition, if it comes to realignment of political forces in parliament, normally, the party that wins the majority should have calm post-election period to be able to pull ahead in the development of European integration. All we did so far from 24 December 2012, with blockades and quarrels in the Parliament, everything presents a detriment to Macedonia.

The promulgation of the electoral law was with consensus; the remarks from SDSM were accepted. Now, as if they are looking for a problem again, so they could justify certain election results.

Jakimovski:: No, now it is begging the Albanian bloc not to accept dissolution of parliament and it is visiting diplomats, it is begging them to make a pressure not to have elections. I guarantee that, if now or next year, the main opposition party will pass a bad elections. I want to tell them that GROM will be so strong, that next year will take a big part of the pie of political voices in Macedonia. We exist only four months. We will have another year for completing of the party’s structure, revival and establishment of the party between the electorate, political scene and the media, and it will be very different matter on the next elections next year, in March. Therefore, I think that SDSM is located in a very independent position, but let them think about that those who lead the party.


By: Biljana Zafirova and Naum Stoilkovski

Photo: Aleksandar Ivanovski