Saving Democracy in Macedonia: What to do After the Wire-tapping Scandal

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Introduction

Since February, 2015, Macedonia is in a political imbroglio as the Social Democrat (SDSM) opposition leader Zoran Zaev has begun releasing sets of illegally recorded phone conversations. The accusations against Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and the Head of Intelligence Service (DBK) Sasho Mijalkov are that they have, during the last few years, secretly and illegally wire-tapped some 20,000 people including journalists, opposition leaders, businessmen, NGO activists, academics, religious leaders, members of the judiciary and others prominent intellectuals. According to the opposition leader the recordings reveal direct influence on the judiciary including dismissing criminal charges against government ministers, appointment of party loyal judges, influence on the media, selective prosecution of political opponents, mass electoral fraud during past elections, using fictive voters, fake ID cards, buying votes, registering up to 50 such voters at individual addresses and instructing them to vote for the ruling party, intimidation of public servants including threats to fire them if they do not vote accordingly, attempts of stealing election material, misuse of police and public administration for party agenda, and pressure on individuals and firms…