The President of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, revoked a presidential pardon for 22 politicians, including the former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.
The decision was published on Saturday, May 28 in the Official Gazette.
President Ivanov granted the presidential pardon in April to 56 individuals, including 22 politicians. The pardon was seen as part of a political deal that would allow a negotiated political transition without retributive justice.
The presidential pardon was followed by international outcry and tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the street in a movement self-styled as a color revolution, like in Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine.
On Friday Ivanov selectively revoked the pardon for 22 politicians, suggesting that “no politician” is above the law.
A regime of fear
This means that the office of the Special Prosecutor can reopen probes into allegations of illegal wiretapping and other political crimes ordered by senior officials. The path is open to prosecute Nicola Gruevski as well as the former chief of police and his cousin, Saso Mijalkov.
Gruevski’s cousin was under investigation for his personal involvement in the torture case of a former interior minister, Boškoski. Mijailkov took pride of his heavy handed practices, designed to humiliate a minister who had voiced concerns over corruption and clientalism and had formed his own nationalist party. Boškoski ended up serving a five-year prison sentence for illegally funding a political campaign.
The country came to a political standstill in 2015 when a mass wiretapping scandal was uncovered, revealing the VMRO-DPMNE administration was eavesdropping on 20,000 people: politicians, journalists, activists, police officers, judges, friends and foes. Ivanov pardoned everyone associated with the case, supposedly to facilitate the country’s political transition.
End of an era
Following the revocation of the amnesty, FYROM may see much of its political elite ending up in jail. Other high ranking officials from the ranks of the incumbent VMRO-DPNA include former cabinet ministers Mile Janakieski and Gordana Jankulovska, the Speaker of Parliament Trajko Veljanovski, and Bitola Mayor Vladimir Talevski.
The leader of the junior coalition partner Democratic Party of Albanians (SPA) Menduh Thaci and the former Social Democrat President of FYROM, Branko Crvenkovski, are also on the list.
In March, the outgoing EU political mediator in Skopje, Peter Vanhoutte, said in an interview with Deutsche Welle that he did not believe elections in FYROM can guarantee regime change, mostly because of an atmosphere of fear.
The country suspended elections for a second time on May 18, following international pressure. The opposition was boycotting elections scheduled to take place in spring, siting failure to ensure a political level playing field. The VMRO-DPMNE’s junior coalition partner (DUI) insisted that postponing the elections was unconstitutional because the parliament was disbanded on April 6.
The issue of when and under what conditions the country will go to the polls remains open.
(meta.mk, Balkan Insight, Bne Intel, DW)