“I wouldn’t agree that not a single law has changed. Several laws have changed, but it definitely could have been better. I am not pinpointing the problem to the fact that laws are not being changed to a greater extent, like the previous ones did, but instead, I find the problem to be in that something that was promised later was not fulfilled. I am not saying that we now need to change and revise all the laws that VMRO-DPMNE adopted. No. But rather to fulfil what was said”, replied Branimir Jovanovic, PhD, civic activist and finance expert, former advisor to ex-Minister of Finance, Dragan Tevdosvki, PhD, following the concluding part of his speech at CIVIL’s seminar “Transparency and responsibility in the political processes”.
Jovanovic with his presentation on the achieved and unfulfilled promises and reforms, with a focus on political responsibility, created great interest among the seminar participants, who had their own views, but also questions about possible changes for the better.
One of the suggestions of the participants for possible solution to certain problems, but also locating responsible behaviour towards certain changes, was to use the referendum as a tool to pressure the government for changing things in the interest of the citizens. The question was whether they can offer some kind of a solution for any given issue that concerns the citizens.
“Referendums are good only in certain situations. Referendums can have an effect on minor local issues, but you cannot have referendums for every matter. They showed to be a good tool in the southeast of the country with the mines, but have in mind that out of the 6 referendums, only the first 3 were successful. People get tired of referendums. Perhaps they have certain power, but are not a universal remedy…”, said Jovanovic, explaining that he, as part of the system, has also tried to change something from the inside, but that what has been fulfilled is quite insignificant in order to satisfy the public.
“I think that in this situation, an additional activity, such as the referendum, is useless. The conditions are not favourable to do something. The public is so annoyed with the government, the trust has fallen so much that no matter what you do, you will be criticized. The situation is as such that even if you threw money out of a helicopter you would still be criticized… The situation is such that there is no point in some kind of organizing political action, the system has to fall in a difficult crisis and then, as the partisans made a state, so should we”, concluded Jovanovic.
Xhabir Deralla, CIVIL, offered a different possibility for action, other than packing suitcases and crossing the border.
“Civic initiatives are a good tool. “End of profligacy” is such an activity of CIVIL, which has the purpose of abolishing privileges of officials. When we posted it on Facebook, it had thousands of supporters. Since we have put it online as petition of change.org, so far it has more than 2.500 supporters. What does this say? This speaks of the citizens backing down when the time comes for decisive step to be made, all of a sudden they start showing certain hesitations. However, we will not stop here, not until we make use of all possibilities, and as of September, we will start also with public pressure on the Parliament. Have in mind that we have the tool of 10.000 signatures for changing a law…”, emphasized Deralla.
Deralla in the context of Jovanovic’s speech, stressed that he sees the greatest responsibility in those who dispose with public money.
“One has to pay attention when laws are passed. They need to be passed by people who have practice, because some of them sound well when you read them, but in practice are very difficult to implement”, concluded one of the participant at the seminar.
“This government should be recognized at least for passing laws. In comparison to the previous government, there is improvement. We don’t have hundreds of laws passed at once anymore, far less laws are passed with urgent procedures. Time is needed for drafting a law. In terms of how laws should be written, an example from my personal experience, with the drafting of the law on progressive tax. When we were drafting it, we consulted everyone, both professors from the law faculty, and also accountants, people who deal with this matter every day in practice. This is most painless. There should be a team in which all profiles of people will be included. Laws shouldn’t be rushed. A minimum of one year is needed for preparing an entirely new law”, relied Jovanovic.
The seminar “Civic Lenses: Transparency and responsibility of the political processes”, is part of the project with the same title and is financed by National Endowment for Democracy.
in cooperation with Igor K. Ilievski
camera: Dehran Muratov
editing and photo: Biljana Jordanovska
This post is also available in: Macedonian