Technical government is not the solution
Author: Sefer Selimi Jr.
As foreseen by the new Law on Government, adopted in July 2018 according to the Przhino model, 100 days before the parliamentary elections, the Technical Government was created which is primarily aimed at creating optimal conditions for holding free, fair and democratic elections. At the head of the Government is the Technical Prime Minister nominated by the ruling party, while the ministries of internal affairs and social policy are led by the ministers nominated by the largest opposition party, namely VMRO-DPMNE. To this Government are joined three additional ministers in the Ministry of Agriculture, Finance and Public Administration as well as the Information Society.
The origin of the concept of the Technical Government is in the Przhino Agreement, a consensus reached at the height of the political crisis that the country was going through as a result of the wiretapping scandal. Over 50,000 citizens, directly or indirectly, had been the target of illegal wiretaps that the government of that time, under the leadership of Nikola Gruevski, had organized and continued through state intelligence structures. The materials provided and published by the opposition then proved two truths: corruption at the highest levels of government and the capture of the state by the ruling party. The latter was also the main reason that imposed the need for the establishment of a technical government that would ensure that the ministries involved in organizing elections and the main ministries through which the vote of the citizens were bought in exchange for public goods, were under control or under the direct supervision of the opposition to prevent their misuse in the 2016 parliamentary elections. Although with many difficulties and fierce internal and institutional clashes, the technical government achieved partial results to ensure minimal conditions for political competition. We all know the next stream of events until April 27, 2017.
The Technical Government’s return to the Law on Government came as a result of blackmail by the current opposition to organize a referendum on the name change, and in July 2018 after many party-level negotiations, along with amendments to the Law on Government, parliament approved a series of legal changes that, among other things, paved the way for the formation of the State Election Commission, necessary for the organization of the September referendum. This compromise may even be fair by giving the opposition the same convenience that the opposition then had, but in fact it is not the right solution for organizing fair and democratic elections. We are witnessing internal clashes, resentments between party leaders and party caprices that make the work of even weak institutions difficult.
Organizing elections comes with a financial cost to the state but also as a direct costs to the citizens. The pre-election period brings economic and social stagnation as all focus shifts to the political race leaving out the daily problems of citizens. Moreover, party clashes and election campaigns last as long as the technical government lasts and 100 days of campaigning is tedious, damaging, and exhausting in all respects. It is necessary to revise the Law on Government and political parties to take electoral reform seriously after the end of the April elections. Instead of the technical government, the electoral code should be changed to update the existing model, which should reflect social reality in both the units and open lists. Instead of the technical government, the electoral list should be cleaned up, to implement OSCE / OHIRD recommendations, and the transparency of financing of political campaigns increased. Much can be done to increase the confidence of the parties involved in the election but also the confidence of voters in the electoral process, while technical government is not the solution.