European Western Balkans

Presidential Declaration on the situation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Government of FYR Macedonia should respect fundamental democratic values in dealing with opposition

The PES has followed with increased concern the recent developments taking place in FYR Macedonia. In a televised press conference, Macedonian PM Gruevski accused Zoran Zaev, leader of the Macedonian Social Democratic Union of espionage and violent threats against government officials, but so far no official charges have been brought against him by the Public Prosecutor. The accusations came a week before he was about to release alleged evidence of widespread phone tapping and electoral fraud on part of the Macedonian government.

The PES Presidency declares:

‘The EU has already voiced criticism about the current government, and these sort of accusations are indicative of what has been described as ‘selective justice and increased politicisation’ in recent progress reports. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has repeatedly been warned about voter intimidation and ‘alleged indirect control of the governing party over the media’, both by the EU and the OSCE.’

‘In a healthy democratic climate, the opposition should be able to do its work in complete freedom and without any restrictions. The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia has refused to take part in the Parliament after the elections because they could not operate freely under circumstances that lean towards authoritarianism. It is therefore imperative that the rule of law, division of powers and the independence of the judiciary are being fully respected in dealing with these charges.’

‘We should not underestimate the regional ramifications of this incident. Authoritarian governments, both within and outside the EU, are trying to undermine their own democracies by cracking down on opposition forces and the media. We must state clearly that European fundamental values should be respected at all times. We also encourage the EPP to work with their associate party VMRO-DPMNE to resolve the situation in full transparency.’

‘The PES calls for an independent investigation of the issue, and will organise a fact finding mission to FYR Macedonia to show support for SDUM, a PES associate member, and to get a comprehensive view of the situation on the ground.’

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