Kumanovo, 2 August 2020 (MIA) – President Stevo Pendarovski addressed Sunday an event at the Pelince-based ASNOM Memorial Center on occasion of the 76th anniversary from the Anti-fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM) and 117 years from the Ilinden Uprising, saying August 2 is an exceptional reminder on the historic and modern significance of the Ilinden cause.
President Pendarovski said these events are not only struggles against tyranny, but unique in their character, just as the country is unique since its independence in 1991.
“In the era of national romanticisms and nationalisms, Ilinden was and remained a symbol of will for own country, based on republican and democratic principles and free life of all ethnic and religious communities in it,” said Pendarovski.
He added that more than a century later from the Krushevo Manifesto and 76 years after the ASNOM Declaration on the fundamental rights of the citizen of democratic Macedonia, they continue to inspire, upon the endeavors of revolutionaries, their struggle for justice, which merges humanism, cosmopolitanism and solidarity, placing them in the foundations as the connecting tissue of Macedonian statehood.
“Their vision for an interethnic and inter-religious cohabitation is achieved in present Republic of North Macedonia as the homeland of its citizens united around the principles of freedom, human rights, democracy and solidarity,” noted Pendarovski.
He said this year’s Ilinden is celebrated in different circumstances, when the world is affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought suffering to millions of people, threatening to fully alter the way of life through movement restrictions and social distancing, while alienation threatens solidarity.
“The health crisis, which has turned into an economic, political and moral crisis worldwide, will be here for months to come, seriously restricting our development and aspirations for a better life. Therefore, the country will have to sooner find a way to ensure social justice, stimulate economic activity and development without entering the whirlpool of financial indebtedness and uncontrolled increase of the public debt,” said Pendarovski.
He said that despite the pandemic, the country realized one of its strategic goals – NATO membership – after many years of hardship and blocks – becoming the 30th member of the most powerful military-political organization comprised of democratic and prosperous states. A process with long-term and historic consequences, aimed at enhancing the country’s statehood, its international position and internal cohesion.
“This March, the European Council finally decided to open the EU accession negotiations, 15 years after the country received the candidate status. But this decision is just the beginning of a long process during which we will have to fundamentally transform and finally distance ourselves from the poor political practices. The new enlargement methodology ensures faster integration but only for countries that are willing to make real not cosmetic reforms,” said Pendarovski.
The President said everyone was clear that the main problems besides the living standard are the lack of equality before the law, non-functional administration, high corruption and inefficient judiciary.
“Our citizens are rightly disappointed when seeing that the prosecutor’s office, which had been the symbol of all of our hopes in fighting organized crime dissolved as a result of it becoming part of the organized crime. Every abuse of office, every abuse of a penny of public funds, every rigged tender, every delay of court proceedings, every harassment of citizens in the administrative corridors are reasons for young people to leave the country, for the closure or moving of businesses elsewhere and the enormous rise in frustrations and radicalization of citizens,” said Pendarovski.
He added that new investments, business innovations, well-paid jobs, general economic and social development are possible in a system where ownership is protected, public funds are not abused for personal interests, where people who work by the rules prosper, while those who break the laws are punished. The only way to build a proper society is to apply the law.
“Any other policy, especially the one based on corruption and clientelism, is malign for our development, destroying the perspective for a decent life of a vast majority of our citizens at the expense of a privileged and corrupt minority,” said Pendarovski.
Referring to the recent elections, the President expects a swift formation of the Parliament and the Government, which would not have the ease of the first 100 days in power.
“The current virus trends will not allow for full return of the economy, with economic problems always bringing instability and dissatisfaction among citizens. We will have to practically implement the future legal reforms and intensify fight against organized crime and high-level corruption much ahead of the start of EU accession negotiations. Finally, the new Government will have another complex task, especially after an election campaign that produced heavy accusations and personal disqualifications that have additionally deepened divisions among citizens,” said Pendarovski.
According to him, one of his main commitments is reconciliation, which the country needs now more than ever.
“There should be no doubt that everyone’s ethnic and partisan affiliation must be respected without exceptions, but partisan and ethnicized institutions undermine their democratic capacity and legitimacy on the short and long run. Citizens’ reconciliation is the basic requirement for a democratic pluralistic society, while democracy a prerequisite for economic development. The moment we learn that politics is a battle of ideas not one of life and death, whereas change of power cannot depend on the realization of the rights and freedoms of every citizen, it is only then we will have a truly democratic country,” stressed Pendarovski.
He said the present Ilinden people must honor the pledge of the old Ilinden people, the current generation has its own battle in order to leave something behind for the ones who succeed them.
“Our battle is to ensure a dignified life for every citizen in the homeland. This requires justice and freedom for everyone. Only then we can say that we are worthy successors of our ancestors. Long live Ilinden, long live the Republic!” underlined President Pendarovski.
Earlier, President Pendarovski, delegations from the Government, veterans’ associations, diplomatic corps, local authorities, political parties and citizens’ associations laid flowers at the monument of the ASNOM Memorial Center.