• Saturday, 11 May 2024

Presidential candidates rally around EU integration, constitutional changes as election campaign resumes

Presidential candidates rally around EU integration, constitutional changes as election campaign resumes

Skopje, 9 April 2024 (MIA) – Day six of the election campaign is underway with presidential candidates set to present their platforms at rallies, public forums and meetings with citizens. 

Two of the presidential candidates will be visiting the Tetovo region on Tuesday. VMRO-DPMNE presidential candidate Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova will visit the villages of Tearce and Brvenica near Tetovo, as well as the Municipality of Gjorche Petrov in Skopje, and hold a rally in Kumanovo, while ZNAM movement presidential candidate Maksim Dimitrievski will hold meetings with residents of the Jegunovce, Tearce and Brvenica villages, as well as Tetovo. 

Levica’s presidential candidate Biljana Vankovska will be in Skopje’s Avtokomanda on Tuesday, and then head to Negotino to present her election platform at meetings with citizens. 

European Front’s presidential candidate Bujar Osmani will hold a public forum in Skopje’s Old Bazaar, and Worth It coalition’s presidential candidate Arben Taravari will hold a meeting with the Platform of Civil Society Organizations for Fight against Corruption.   

The presidential hopefuls on Monday rallied around EU integration and constitutional amendments, with some of them also commenting on the journalis Furkan Saliu’s arrest. 

SDSM-backed presidential candidate Stevo Pendarovski called for unity and no divisions in order to achieve the country's strategic objectives, one being membership in the developed world, since everything else is a way back to the Balkan past full of conflicts and hatred. 

SDSM-backed presidential candidate Stevo Pendarovski said late Monday the European Union membership is the only alternative for the country's progress.

According to him, the politicians in power have a plan and vision to bring the country into the EU by 2030. 

"We have seen two adversaries on our EU accession path - our eastern neighbor that has used a 19-century anachronous, anti-Macedonian and anti-European policy, but also our largest opposition party that decided to block our European path for reasons I do not know. As a result of that synergy between the external and internal adversaries, we are self-blocked, which means isolation in the long run if we do not get your support," said Pendarovski. 

Pendarovski told Monday’s rally in the Skopje municipality of Aerodrom that the first round of the presidential elections on April 24 will be crucial to seal the win two weeks later, because it will demonstrate the power and potential of those citizens who want a democratic and European country. 

The European Front’s presidential candidate Bujar Osmani stressed on Monday that the constitutional amendments are a precondition for one of two visions – a multiethnic European country with equal opportunities for all or an isolated country with ethnic tensions. 

Kandidati për president i mbështetur nga “This is a choice between two visions, concepts – a vision of a multiethnic European country that offers equal opportunities and is economically developed, and the alternative option is isolation from the world, ethnic tensions, and a regression in terms of the economic standard. These are the two visions being offered to the citizens which is why I am saying that we are on a crossroads. And there are no vacuums in politics, there is no empty space, the constitutional amendments are one of the preconditions for us to choose a vision. The constitutional amendments must happen this year so that we are able to open chapters and become an EU member state by 2030,” Osmani said at a panel discussion on “Equality, Consensuality and Social Cohesion”. 

Anyone who doesn’t support the European option, according to Osmani, even by not voting, supports the option of isolation. 

Presidential candidate of the opposition bloc of ethnic Albanians, Arben Taravari, said Monday six months are sufficient for adoption of the constitutional changes so that the country begins the EU accession negotiations. 

“Coalition 'Worth It' and DUI have a gentlemen's agreement that European integration is a priority for the country. We remain on this position, I cannot say time-wise "prior to the government formation" but I claim that we are the biggest guarantee that the future government will continue on the European path, as desired by majority of Macedonian citizens,” said Taravari. 

Ekziston një marrëveshje mes nesh,

VMRO-DPMNE-backed presidential candidate Gordana Siljanovska Davkova told a rally in Bitola on Monday that those who claim the country will be isolated if VMRO-DPMNE comes to power should show who is supporting them at these elections. 

"I am hearing these days that the country would be isolated if I became president and Mr.Mickoski assumed the PM’s post. What an interesting phenomenon! I ask those who claim we are isolated, who is supporting them at these elections," said Siljanovska Davkova.

She said European People’s Party legend Doris Pack has provided her support.

Those who claim we will be isolated if we come to power should show who is supporting them at these elections, said VMRO-DPMNE-backed presidential candidate Gordana Siljanovska Davkova at a r

"Swedish MP Margareta Cederfelt has also joined us. In Bucharest, Hristijan Mickoski spoke on the stage alongside Mrs.von der Leyen and other European leaders. Who is isolated? Is it the one who cannot enter the room with their own parties or the one who speaks about Macedonia’s European future at the EPP summit,” said Siljanovska Davkova. 

She promised more women would be hired in her office, not because of quotas but to show men they are giving up on knowledge, creation and commitment.

Levica presidential candidate Biljana Vankovska reiterated the pledge for termination of the Ohrid, Prespa and Bulgaria treaties that "weigh our country down" during campaign stops in Gevgelija and Bogdanci on Monday.

Vankovska said that membership in some future alliances should not come because of other countries and geostrategies but due to the interests of the country and the Macedonian people. 

Në rajonin e Ohrit sot ishte karvani i kandidatit për president nga Lëvizja ZNAM - Për Maqedoninë tonë, Maksim Dimitrievski.

ZNAM movement presidential candidate Maksim Dimitrievski told citizens in Ohrid on Monday that the country needs a president who will protect citizens’ interest and who will not work in the interest of political entities. He reiterated that if elected president, he would never sign a decree on a law that is against the will of the citizens. 

Photo: MIA