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Macedonia’s Small Opposition Parties Join Forces

April 6, 2012

Former Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski has emerged at the helm of a new bloc that aims to unite opposition to the government of Nikola Gruevski.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 06.04.2012

 

Ljubco Georcievski

The informal bloc is based on the loose cooperation of four minor parties, none of which won seats in parliament in last June’s early elections.

Georgievski’s rightist VMRO People’s Party and the Liberal Democrats of Andrej Zernovski form the core. This week United for Macedonia, the party of jailed former police minister Ljube Boskoski, joined them. Another party, Dignity, unites veterans from the 2001 conflict.

“Our ideological differences remain but we are united by a common concern for the current state of affairs, poverty, lagging behind in Euro-Atlantic integration and worsening inter-ethnic relations,” Zernovski said.

It is not known whether Macedonia’s largest opposition party, the Social Democrats of Branko Crvenkovski, will be invited to join.

In March the party left space for such cooperation, calling for a wide opposition front against Gruevski and saying it would not wish to dominate it.

“Cooperation with Crvenkovski is open for discussion,” one senior source from Georgievski’s party said.

If a coalition between Georgievski and Crvenkovski emerges now, it will be for the first time. Their rivalry dominated politics in the 1990s, when the country underwent a turbulent translation from Communism to capitalism.

The two party leaders then traded accusations of betraying the country, of undertaking criminal privatizations of state assets and of being too servile towards the country’s large ethnic Albanian minority.

But after another defeat by Gruevski’s VMRO DPMNE party in the June general elections, both leaders stated they were ready to put old grievances aside.

Georgievski, a former leader of Gruevski’s VMRO DPMNE party, was Prime Minister from 1998 to 2002.

In 2003, when he quit as leader of VMRO DPMNE, he lobbied for Gruevski, then his vice-president, to be the new leader. But soon he changed his mind and in 2004 he left VMRO DPMNE after failing to overthrow Gruevski who he meanwhile accused of incompetence.

After several years of political inactivity Georgievski staged a comeback before the June elections. But his VMRO People’s Party failed to secure a seat.

The Social Democrats boosted their numbers in parliament in the June polls, but not by enough to replace Gruevski who has ruled unchallenged since 2006.

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