Time: 12:40 a.m. CEST
By Aleksandra Dukovska
Video highlights on Macedonian language by president of VMRO-DPMNE party, Nikola Gruevski in front of the State Election Commission in Skopje on December 17.
On temperature of -1 C (30F), Nikola Gruevski arrived outside the State Election Commission offices in Skopje to step into improvised stage during a mini rally on Saturday. Gruevski arrived alone with his bodyguards through the protesting people and VMRO-DPMNE supporters, while patriotic songs of historic VMRO played in the background created additional atmosphere in marching rhythm.
Cold winter weather who do not influence to people who protested three days of worries that the legal procedures and complaints by the opposition could influence the results of the election process in Macedonia. Gruevski did not enter the offices of the Commission, which afternoon session continued with the hearings of the representatives of the local election authorities.
The word, Gruevski would arrived to address the protesting supporters spread fast among media crews at the Commission and many of them changed the comfortable and warm room at the Commission with the freezing weather outside, waiting for the person, who probably faces extraordinary challenges after the narrow results on the December 11 elections.
The messages Gruevski sent to his supporters could open new chapter for the former Prime minister of Macedonia in which he would either stay on power, transition in opposition, or it could bring his party on power again, but would not be the next prime minister. While legal procedures should wrap up in several days, the opposition SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE are fighting with statements, bitter social media exchanges of their supporters on the future destiny of Gruevski and its party.
On Saturday, Gruevski who faces large pressure from the foreign ambassadors in the past period, announced that he would departure the political format talks, mediated by the ambassadors of the United States and the European Union, and requested of the ambassadors to withdraw of playing pivotal roles in the domestic politics affairs in Macedonia.
“We are open for communication with all Ambassadors and representatives of foreign states, but some Ambassadors who started to interfere into out internal politics, should stop doing that.,” Gruevski requested from the improvised stage in Skopje. Front raw of the supporters hold placards and cheered, “Nikola, Nikola, Nikola.”
One of the placards said, “Say ‘Yes’ to America, Say ‘No’ to Baily,” referring to to the election results in the United States and to the current United States Ambassador Jess Baily in the country, who prompted official readout by VMRO-DPMNE party, just a day before, after his visit to this party baroque headquarters in Skopje.
Riot police was standing beyond Gruevski, protecting the entrance of the building where the offices of the State Election Commission are and their members discussed on the complaints of the opposition and Albanian movement BESA.
Gruevski arrived facing the possible situation, where a re-voting if allowed could rescind one won mandate for his party coalition and could add to the mandate of the opposition coalition, run by Zoran Zaev. The current narrow result is in favor of VMRO-DPMNE and the legal procedure created tense atmosphere in the past days with all officials of the party expressing warning messages.
The last came from Gruevski, who stated that if the institutions “take away the victory of VMRO-DPMNE “and forged the free expressed will of the people of Republic of Macedonia, VMRO-DPMNE announces that it would not take part in the re-voting and it would not accept the results of that re-voting.”
After the address to gathered supporters Gruevski left the improvised stage followed by media crews who tried to find a way through the protesters. But, soon after he left, the protesters left the street and only makeshift fires burned into the cold night. Later, the State Election Commission decided to refute the complaint of the opposition, while making public review of the confidential election material.
Post-election turbulences in Macedonia could last in the period ahead, as two major coalition struggles to stay on power, despite the situation in which most of them could face court cases. Even though, Gruevski’s tone of speech on Saturday was much louder than after declaring election victory on December 11, it was unclear if he would walk out of the Prizno Agreement process, which defines many steps for major players in the political scene in Macedonia under the watchful eye of the foreign ambassadors.
Despite, political football and severe exchanges on the political scene would continue before the New Year’s holidays in weather, which leaves many at home on warm. The new parliament should convene before New Year, with new parliamentarians, regardless the fight on who will be the next prime minister in Macedonia. Gruevski and VMRO-DPMNE is on power for 10 years and his ruling was shaken in the past two years by the disclosed intercepted conversations by high-ranking VMRO-DPMNE officials, including former prime minister.