Macedonians are heading to the polls. The official date is not set yet, but it is likely to be on July 5th. The date does not depend on our institutions, laws or constitution, but rather from our so-called “leadership meetings”. This is proof that even 30 years after independence from Yugoslavia, we still lack some of the basic tenets of democracy.
According to a poll, presented on the TV show “Detektor”, 47.4 per cent of the electorate think that the next government’s priority should be economic recovery and policies to that effect, with a secondary focus on health. Even though the issue of our country’s name (Macedonia to North Macedonia) is still a hot topic in political debates, research shows that only a disappointing 1.6 per cent believe this should be a priority.
As a Doctor of Medicine and conservative, I am mostly following two main topics: health and international politics. Regarding health, I am in favour of pro-life policies, the environment and the overall health of the nation. Research done by the political organisation Conservative.MK has warned that 2020 could be a disastrous year for Macedonian newborns.
Our fertility rates have fallen into negative territory for the first time in our 30 years of independence. This means that we are no longer achieving the minimum replacement level of two births per woman. During the years of our socialist left wing government, Bloomberg has shown that we have fallen 12 places on their Health rankings.
This index is measured by economic statistics from the World Bank, as well as environment and overall health statistics from the World Health Organization and UN Population Division. Skopje, the capital city, has had the dubious honour of being recorded as the most polluted city in the world several times in the past year. Socialism has also failed our nation in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Out of all the ex-Yugoslavian countries, we have handled the corona crisis the worst.
Turning to the wider world, Conservative MK research has showed that this government is the worst in our history for signing new trade agreements, with no new deals. Moreover, according to USAID-funded research our country has become far worse in offering opportunities for creating or expanding businesses. We are also experiencing levels of outward migration, particularly from our youth, which are far higher than the average rates of migration over the previous 10 years of centre-right government.
Regarding international politics, what is interesting to me is our place as a country in the new world order after the Covid-19 crisis. In the past globalisation encouraged mass emigration of businesses from Western Europe to Asian countries with cheap labour like China, India and Bangladesh. The pandemic has started to make businesses come back to Europe and away from Asia. European businesses must now work to ensure that this remains true for the future. A small country like North Macedonia can benefit a lot from this trend since we can offer cheaper labour than much of Western Europe and we are soon to be also part of the EU single market. Also, we are proud members of NATO, the world’s strongest military alliance, which is yet another boost for the stability and economic progress of the country.
Aggression and tension have fuelled the election field. Fractious topics include Bulgaria and the proliferation of anti-Western propaganda. Sadly, we can see a lot of pro-Russian media, but this appears to be the last throw of the dice. Mostly, this comes from fake news sites and accounts trying to discredit progressive force on both the left and the right of the political spectrum. Unfortunately, political forces in Bulgaria have indirectly fuelled this anti-Western propaganda with their latest announcement that they are considering vetoing our path to the EU. I do not have political power or position to influence this issue, but the new government will definitely have to face this challenge after the elections.
The latest poll by Market Vision (the agency with the most accurate prediction for the last elections), says the centre-right coalition “Renew Macedonia” led by VMRO-DPMNE (an EPP/IDU member) is leading the race and will probably win. Social democrats hope that even if they are not the largest party, they will still form a coalition government. Political parties outside of the main 2 parties have almost zero chance to enter parliament, except for maybe the Extreme Left (1 or 2 MPs at a maximum) and some ethnic Albanian parties.
We at Conservative MK, as a modern centre-right political umbrella organization, will not participate in these elections by supporting a party. But members from our organisation will be part of the main campaigns. All our publications, ideas, policies and others, will be used freely by all conservatives and centre-right to right wing parties in the election battle. The world is changing, and we conservatives need a stronger voice in the post Covid-19 new world order. I wish our conservatives good luck and I look forward to a new, centre-right government.