Time: 9:37 p.m. CEST
Photography, Video and Writings by Aleksandra Dukovska
The European Commissioner on Enlargement Johannes Hahn said it is important that elections are prepared and conducted in a way that nobody can criticize.
Skopje|Macedonia: Less than the two months before the scheduled early general elections in Republic of Macedonia, the European Commissioner Johannes Hahn arrived probably for the last time before the winter to address the important issues with the presidents of the four political parties, members of the civil society and the public prosecutor on the intercepted conversations.
During the sunny October day in Skopje, most of the media crews waited outside the building of the Delegations of European Union in the center of the city. Before EU Commissioner Hahn left for Brussels, he talked to the interested reporters at the EU Info Center in Skopje.
Video highlights of EU Commissioner Hahn statement during news conference in Skopje.
After more than five hours of talks with the different key players in Macedonia, Hahn stressed the importance of the elections and the period after elections, when the European Union expects common work and political debate inside, not outside the Parliament.
“On the campaign, not to provoke any inter-ethnic tensions and everybody should be aware, always to the day after the elections and usually after the elections, people have to work together. And to work together, not only means to work together in the government, but also in the Parliament,” Hahn talked.
The European Union that initiated the process of political talks among political parties in Macedonia, which resulted into the Przino Agreement, a pathway to the exit of the political crisis, expects clear elections.
“It is important that elections are prepared and conducted in a way that nobody can afterwards criticize the preparations and conductions of the elections,” Hahn said during the news conference in Skopje.
One of the remaining issues that are open is the size of the Election Unit 6, which is villages and towns in the western part of the country. “The size of district six, the size of it, which I have urged the political parties to find the solutions in order not to provoke even the slightest reason for criticizing the elections,“ Hahn said.
The EU Commissioner addressed some of the issues he perceives that improved in the past period, emphasizing that State Election Commission works better, and that some aspects in the media improved. But, Hahn said he urged all his interlocutors to support the job of the special prosecutor, “in a way that we are used to see the work of the prosecutors in Europe.”
“I met the special prosecutor today, I am very confident about her. But, I think now it is important that she can use all the opportunities and it is important to see the result of her work and not to intervene in what is she doing and also not to misuse her,” Hahn said at the overcrowded conference hall of the EU Info Centre in Skopje.
Since the morning, Hahn met with civil society members, president of two main Albanian parties and the public prosecutor for the intercepted conversations at the Delegation to the EU in Skopje. After the meetings, the invited talked to the media, waiting for the statements outside.
Katica Janeva who left the building with a smile expressed her expectations that the Parliament would vote for the laws she was asking them to vote before the Parliament to dissolve. Janeva also said that the issue of the Special Court is not something in the scope of her work.
The president of the ruling coalition party in the government, Ali Ahmeti of the Democratic Union for Integration said, no time for the laws. In the talk, Ahmeti was interrupted by the noisy traffic.
After more than 40 minutes meeting of the president of the Democratic Party of Albanians and the EU Commissioner Hahn, Menduh Taci announced that, “If the slightest argument in the results of elections shows that VMRO-DPMNE and DUI repeated any of the steps from the previous elections,” they would problematize the elections.
Commissioner Hahn met with the presidents of SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE at their party headquarters. Both parties released statements on their websites after the meetings with the EU Commissioner.
In a statement, VMRO-DPMNE said, party president Nikola Gruevski concluded the elections are the only exit of the political crisis. “All political factors needs to engage in building trust for the credibility of the process,” the party statement explained.
The opposition party SDSM promised to the EU Commissioner Hahn, the representatives of SDSM in the interim (technical government) are focused “toward the protection of the residents and institutions from misuses and for the reliable elections on December 11.”
Before he left for Brussels, Hahn thanked, not only Macedonia, but to the region for dealing with migration crisis, and urged media in the country to push younger people to vote, comparing the latest turnouts in Croatia’s elections and Brexit referendum in Great Britain.
The proposals for Parliament dissolve before the elections and the election campaigns, together with the state budget for 2017 are on the agenda for the October 17 plenary session of the Parliament.