Within the project PEP (Politically Exposed Persons), SCOOP will present the biographies of the holders of candidate lists in all constituencies, with a special focus on their property status.
Authors: Angela Rajchevska and Bjanka Stankovikj
Everything was ready for the start of the big election race for power in North Macedonia, which was supposed to end on April 12, when the citizens would have decided who would lead the country in the forthcoming years. However, what seemed to be a distant problem affecting only China and its neighbors, became a global problem in a short time. The corona-induced pandemic, which also reached Macedonia in late February, forced politicians to sit together and postpone the early parliamentary elections. Although the campaign had not yet been officially launched, they had already begun preparations. In this way, the whole election process was frozen, and the campaign, which had already begun, was interrupted by a decision of the Government, which during the declared state of emergency has the authority to take measures by force of law.
Following the decrease in the number of active cases infected with the coronavirus, on May 12 the leaders of the political parties returned to the topic of the elections, but failed to agree on a new date. SDSM insists on quick elections, preferably in mid-June, whereas VMRO-DPMNE requires no elections as long as the virus is present. However, it is expected that at the new leadership meeting the date for new elections will be sought between June 28 or July 5.
Who are the holders of the first constituency, who will be the “locomotives” that will pull the votes for the main political parties or coalitions?
Constituency 1 is one of the six constituencies in Macedonia. This constituency includes 9 municipalities from the City of Skopje and north and west Macedonia, among which: Aerodrom, Kisela Voda, Centar, Karpos, Cair (part), Saraj, Studenicani, Sopiste and Makedonski Brod.
DIMITROV AND CAROVSKA’S PROPERTY
The ruling SDSM announced the list holders and candidates for MPs at the party’s Congress. As planned, in each constituency, SDSM will go with two list holders, this time with a man and a woman, on the principle of gender equality. The first constituency is to be led by Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and Deputy Prime Minister Mila Carovska.
Dimitrov, a Macedonian diplomat and foreign minister who led the name change process, was named holder of the candidate list in the First constituency. He has been remembered by the public since the beginning of his career in 1996 as an adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2000 he became President Boris Trajkovski’s national security adviser, and two years later he was appointed Macedonian ambassador to the United States. In 2009 Dimitrov became Macedonia’s ambassador to the Netherlands.
Important moments in his political career are the representation in the name dispute negotiations between Macedonia and Greece, and Macedonia’s representation in the lawsuit before the International Court of Justice in The Hague against Greece for violating the interim agreement. The key moment in his career is the Prespa Agreement signed by him, as Foreign Minister of Macedonia, and the President of Greece, Nikos Kotzias, on June 17, 2018 in the village of Nivitsi, on the Lake Prespa. The same agreement was signed by the UN mediator in the name dispute Macedonia, Matthew Nimetz. The agreement replaces the Interim Accord signed in New York on September 13, 1995 and it is a solution to the Macedonia name dispute.
Given his active political engagement with Greece, the minister has made a number of visits abroad. The latest research of SCOOP Macedonia showed that Dimitrov is among the officials who spent the most budget money in the first months of 2019, according to data from the tool for accountability of the costs of public office holders.
Nikola Dimitrov has spent a total of 1,282,027 denars. He spent the most in April – 363,530 denars, and the least in January – 111,384 denars. Taking into account the amounts, SCOOP also looked at his travels. In April, he was on a working visit to Washington to meet with representatives of US government agencies, as well as a working visit to Berlin, where several briefings and working meetings were held, with a focus on the benefits of the Prespa Agreement. The minister’s activities continued in Warsaw, where he attended a session of the Senate of the Republic of Poland, as well as a working visit to The Hague, where several meetings were held regarding reforms.
Currently, according to data published on the website of the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption, his property is estimated at 270 thousand Euros. It consists of the same items and only a denar account of about 7 thousand Euros has been added as his personal property. His current total property is lower than when he entered politics. In a statement for PEP, Dimitrov said that he was in the process of divorce, and that his personal real estate was only the apartment in Skopje. The second apartment belongs to his daughter, who lives separately, but he says he has declared it for greater transparency. Mila Carovska, the former Minister of Labor and Social Policy in the Macedonian Government in 2017, is the current Deputy Prime Minister in the Government. In the first constituency, she is planned to fill the seat for the female representative.
Her political and work background is also as rich as Dimitrov’s. She became the head of the ministry after previously, in the period November 2015 – May 2016, was an advisor in the cabinet of the Minister Frosina Remenski. Carovska had her beginnings in this sector after graduation. For ten years she was the program coordinator of the Health Education and Research Association (HERA). In the current technical government, she has the position of Deputy Prime Minister.
As for Carovska, SCOOP also analyzed and monitored the changes in her property. According to our research, Carovska does not occupy a high place on the list of the richest members of the government. However, after some time, according to the SCOOP research, she added the property owned by her parents to her property, which significantly increased the amount of her total property.
Currently, according to the data published on the website of the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption, Mila Carovska’s property amounts to 1,641,618 Euros. There has been an increase of 50,020 Euros in loans and credit cards.
In the latest research of SCOOP Macedonia, according to the data from the tool for accountability of the costs of public office holders, Deputy Prime Minister Mila Carovska spent a total of 2,378 Euros for air tickets in the first five months of 2019.
SILJANOVSKA-DAVKOVA FROM VMRO-DPMNE DOES NOT EVEN HAVE A CAR
The holder of the opposition list in the first constituency is Gordana Siljanovska Davkova, a university professor and lawyer. In 2019, Siljanovska Davkova was elected presidential candidate in the presidential election. However, in the elections she lost to her opponent, Stevo Pendarovski. For her career, it is important to note that she was a member of the Constitutional Commission of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia (1990-1992) and a Minister in the Government of the Republic of Macedonia (1992-1994).
However, at the time, officials had no obligation to declare their assets, while since the establishment of the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption (SCPC) in 2005, Siljanovska has had no public office and has not been required to declare property. Because of this, we have very little information about her property and bank accounts. However, during the presidential campaign, the media reported that Siljanovska Davkova did not have real estate in her name. Siljanoska lives in the center of Skopje, on Orce Nikolov Street, in a family house owned by her husband. The house is 114 square meters and quite old. Siljanovska has no car. The media reported that she neither had a driver’s license, nor did she want to drive a car. Her husband is a retired lawyer and has 1996 Honda Shuttle.
But her family says they have no major bank savings. On the other hand, they neither have loans nor other major debts.
MEXHITI FROM DUI WITH DECLARED PROPERTY OF 60 THOUSAND EUROS
One of the four vice presidents of DUI will be the holder of the list in Constituency 1. It is about Izet Mexhiti, the former mayor of the Municipality of Cair in the period from 2005 to 2017.
Mexhiti started as a teacher of economics at the Arseni Jovkov High School. After leaving his job as a teacher, he worked as an economic advisor at Macedonian Posts until 2005.
He won his first term in local government elections in 2005. During his second term, Mexhiti made a controversial decision to rename four primary schools in the municipality, which was found to be illegal, and then the old names were listed on the certificates issued by these schools.
Izet Mexhiti’s property, published by the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption, since the time of the local self-government, amounts to about 60 thousand Euros and consists of his parents’ property, a house in Skopje and personal property, a car Peugeot 207.
The Alliance for Albanians and Alternative Coalition has Skender Rexhepi, the Secretary General of the Alternative, as holder in the constituency.
In part 2 you will read: How rich are the holders of the second constituency?