The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) issues the following statement regarding the resignation of Zoran Zaev as Prime Minister of Macedonia following his political party’s significant losses in the recent Macedonian local elections:
UMD strongly opposed the so-called Good Neighborly Relations Agreement with Bulgaria, the Prespa Agreement with Greece, and the language law in Macedonia. UMD publicly stressed the detrimental implications that the passage of each of these measures would have on the Macedonian nation-state and identity.
UMD called on Zaev to resign on three separate occasions: in March 2018 after the Macedonian Parliament passed the unconstitutional and divisive language law; in June 2018 following the signing of the deeply flawed Prespa Agreement; and in September 2018 during the debacle of the forced name change referendum which garnered only 36.7% voter turnout.
Zaev’s resignation is long overdue. He has repeatedly disregarded the will of the Macedonian people about their identity. In his resignation speech, he used the term ‘progressive’ to describe himself and those who supported his fractious actions. However, there is nothing progressive about trading a country’s name, history, and identity nor denying the human rights of the Macedonian people. Since the unconstitutional name change, the Macedonian identity has been challenged daily at every level. The use of ‘North Macedonian’ has been rampant in global media outlets and governments worldwide. Macedonians have not benefitted one iota by any of Zaev’s ill-advised policies. In fact, they have even fallen further behind in achieving sustainable economic and political stability.
UMD has consistently opposed the name change. It spearheaded the “We Are Macedonia” campaign that brought 150,000 people together in over 40 worldwide rallies. UMD will only use the rightful constitutional name of the Macedonian people and nation in reference to our homeland. It is and will always be Macedonia.
UMD extends its sincere congratulations to those elected as mayors of the 81 municipalities in the country, and especially to the independent candidate Danela Arsovska – the first woman to be elected mayor of the capital city, Skopje, and currently, one of only two elected female mayors in the country.
UMD has long been a proponent of gender equality. It is thankful that many outstanding women currently serve on its Board of Directors, providing their unique and valuable insights into our priorities and direction. UMD’s experience drawing from the talents of a diverse cross-section of Macedonians underscores the need for more women to be involved in the public life of Macedonia and its future.