Macedonian bloggers commented on the private meetings between leaders of the biggest political parties as a replacement of public democratic dialog within state institutions.
Volan asked [MKD]:
Why do we need the democratic model of governance? After the dissolution of a one-party state, Macedonia de facto turned into a bi/tri-sultanate. The Constitution and the institutions of the system are adjusted according to the will of the two sultans. It turns out that today’s meeting of the two sultans from the two most powerful political parties is the most important meeting to decide everything. Afterwards the governmental structures will just raise two fingers and rubberstamp – starting from the Parliament, the most shameful gravedigger of Macedonian quasi-democracy. [Quoting Wikipedia:]
Sultan (Arabic: سلطان Sulṭān) is a title, with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning “strength”, “authority”, or “rulership”, derived from the masdar سلطة sulṭah, meaning “authority” or “power”. Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who claimed almost full sovereignty in practical terms…
I propose to legalize the sultanocratic system by changing the Constitution, which at least will notify the people and allow it to adjust to the truth.
Prof. Mirjana Najchevska, a human right expert, lamented [MKD] the consensual murder of the democratic process:
…Yesterday’s meeting between Gruevski and Crvenkovski [MKD] was a requiem over the grave of democracy in Macedonia. The gradual sucking out of power from all democratic institutions and especially from the highest legislative body—the Parliament—finished with the meeting of leaders of the two biggest political parties and their secret negotiations and deals.
The lack of citizens’ understanding that this act means moving of the entire power from their hands (power exercised through their elected representatives in the Parliament) into the hands of two leaders (who accumulate the whole power and decide behind closed doors) results from the enormous ignorance about the basic meaning of democracy, and why it was accepted as a system of contemporary civilization.
The Parliament, democratic institutions, transparency and accountability were invented precisely with the purpose to prevent kings, power mongers, and cockerels from the dumps to bring decisions affecting the lives of the citizens without participation of those citizens, without the opportunity to influence or control the outcomes.
Moving the decision-making process to meetings between the chiefs (in Macedonia, initially promoted by the leaders of ethnic Albanian political parties and overwhelmingly embraced by the leaders of ethnic Macedonian political parties) represents an act of announcing the fact that the state is not democratic any more, but autocratic, or, in the worst case, organized as tribes.
The Parliament was invented as a venue for discussion, negotiation and agreement upon issues. This has to be done through defined procedures, before the public eye, and by representatives elected by the citizens. The Parliament can be vacated in protest, early elections may be demanded, the legitimacy of the elected representatives can be questioned, but it cannot be replaced by another kind of deal-making. In a democratic state, if a political party decides to negotiate, it must be done within the Parliament, through the MPs, at a Parliament session, through an appropriate procedure.
Otherwise, why do we need elections, why should we spend money, time, and energy, when we can have the two chiefs meet and strike a deal? Or, possibly, we should invest in organizing a healthy fistfight that will show who is stronger and who should lead the tribe? Or they should take it outside like [roosters], plucking in the backyard, and the winner would jump to the top of the dump and crow about his victory.
Democracy is dead – long live the cockfight!