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Trajkovski Bows out before the Race, Boskovski Suspends Campaign

February 17, 2004

By Christopher Deliso

Carrying a photo of a decidedly dejected Boris Trajkovski, ‘Utrinski Vesnik’ yesterday announced that the Macedonian president will not be seeking re-election this winter.

Apparently, the beleaguered Trajkovski- who won the firm friendship of the American leadership even as he fell out with his own party and electorate- proved unable to find any party who would run him. And, as is their wont, the Americans have also proven fickle suitors. So, rather than suffer a humiliating defeat, he chose to bow out early.

Bemoaning the “political games” of Macedonia, Trajkovski said that they were “not part of my lifestyle and my principles.” Although Trajkovski did not elaborate, he was probably referring to recent squabbles with Defense Minister Vlado Buchkovski and his rejection by VMRO-DPMNE, which elected him as their candidate 5 long years ago.

Trajkovski’s reception by the Albanian parties- key allies of any Macedonian presidential candidate- was equally gloomy. According to Monday’s ‘Dnevnik‘, “…Trajkovski got a very clear answer that they (DUI and DPA) would not give him support in the elections. The president of DUI, Ali Ahmeti, said that DUI has a ‘moral obligation’ to support candidates from SDSM and LDP.”

Dnevnik added that, according to sources in the president’s cabinet, “…Trajkovski was angry with Nikola Gruevski when the latter went to America for George Bush’s National Prayer Breakfast, taking with him Sashko Kedev.” The VMRO leader was also accompanied by SDSM officials and Macedonian businessmen.

Kedev, a Skopje cardiologist, is tipped to be the VMRO candidate in the upcoming elections. When the paper corralled Kedev this weekend in Stip, the doctor was coy as to his political future: “…at this moment, I don’t see myself in any presidential function. But we’ll see. There’s a lot of time between now and May, when our party has its conference.”

However, one dark horse candidate remains, and that is ‘Brat Ljube’, former Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski. This senior VMRO member announced that his campaign is ‘at peace’ right now, frozen while he awaits further word from his party:

“…I don’t want to make a big thing out of it for the sake of my party. We don’t need separation at this moment. In a couple of days, I will be in Italy and Germany to re-connect with famous international persons. But still, I will present myself as a possible candidate for president at my party’s convention in May.”

It is unlikely that Boskovski, would win, however. He is too unpopular in the West and among the Albanians, especially. ‘Dnevnik’ added that former VMRO head Ljubco Georgievski is planning to persuade Boskovski not to run, for the sake of party unity. The question of who will run with the coalition champs SDSM remains unanswered.

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