As president, I was and I will be the voice of the citizens - Inauguration speech by President Ivanov
12 May 2014, Skopje, Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia
Respected citizens of the Republic of Macedonia,
Honorable President of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia,
Honorable President of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia,
Esteemed Members of the Parliament,
Esteemed Members of the Government,
Distinguished Representatives of the Judiciary of the Republic of Macedonia,
Distinguished Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, Representatives of the Religious Communities of the Republic of Macedonia,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to express my great gratitude to the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia who have contributed to maintaining peaceful, fair and democratic elections. It was democracy, citizens and Macedonia that won at these elections.
I also congratulate the State Election Commission for effectively carrying out the election process, for raising the standard of democratic elections in the country.
I am grateful to both domestic and international observers deployed by the OSCE/ODIHR mission for their impartiality in monitoring the electoral process in Macedonia. The assessments on the elections given by the international community are an encouragement and an incentive for constant upgrading of democracy.
First time in the history of the Republic of Macedonia, there was not a single presidential election related appeal filed to the State Election Commission. I am convinced that all future polls in Macedonia will maintain and even exceed the standard set by the voters and the institutions.
We live in a period of perpetual transformation of the international order.
Five years ago when I was giving the solemn oath, the world was in a global economic and financial crisis, and Europe was about to enter a big debt crisis. Crises slowly outweigh, economies recover, yet global challenges and changes remain. They are now even more intense and unforeseeable. And, the world is connected and interdependent as never before.
In such complex international conditions, it is necessary Macedonia to successfully defend its interests and the interests of its citizens.
When it comes to national interests, it is necessary the Republic of Macedonia to act in a single voice and with a clear position to be recognized as a stable country, respected as a responsible partner and ally.
It is the duty and responsibility of everyone who has received a mandate from the citizens.
It is the voice of the citizens; it is the voice with which they have elected a president, who have given their trust to the members of the parliament that elects the government.
It was at these elections that the citizens have decided who will be president, who will be parliamentarians, who will govern the country in the coming years.
Commitment and responsible work is what citizens expect from the elected. Serious approach and thoughtfulness. It is about the interests of the citizens, their better standard of living, a better present and a brighter future. Anyone who has received a mandate must be aware and be responsible for that.
It is the mandate, it is the trust that today some opposition parties put at stake, by refusing to recognize the presidential and early parliamentary election results.
As president of the Republic of Macedonia, I am concerned about these reactions and actions, because I am their president, too.
Today, from this place, I will clearly say:
Those who think they boycott the institution President of the Republic of Macedonia actually boycott the citizens who voted in the presidential election.
Those who boycott the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia for which they received a mandate, actually boycott the will and trust of the citizens who voted them.
Boycott of institutions means boycott of democracy and boycott of citizens' will. Boycott is underestimation of voters' democratic maturity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, as president, I get legitimacy directly from citizens.
In accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, the votes I have received to serve as President of the Republic of Macedonia have neither ethnic nor religious inclination. In a democracy, votes are counted, not measured. The President of the Republic of Macedonia is elected by the citizens, not by the communities.
I was and I will remain a president of all citizens, regardless of whom they voted for. The Constitution obliges me to represent the Republic of Macedonia as a sovereign and independent state, to represent all citizens of the Republic of Macedonia.
I was and I will remain one for all, defending the common, national interests, the interests of every citizen, the interests of Macedonia. For all, for the Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Serbs, Roma, Bosniaks and others.
I have worked and will work for the state, the people. As president, I was and I will be the voice of the citizens.
Today, from this place, in the name of the citizens I urge!
Let us overcome the narrow party and personal interests!
I call upon the opposition to remain consistent with the democratic principles and values.
Democracy works when the rules of the game are respected. When the Constitution and laws are abided to.
Democracy implies fulfillment of the promise and accountability for the work done.
Democracy means respect for the freely expressed will of the voters at elections, irrespective of the outcome.
Democracy implies not only rights and freedoms, but also responsibility for each citizen, regardless of ethnic, religious or any other affiliation.
Democracy, finally, means dialogue and cooperation, understanding and mutual respect in democratically elected institutions through which citizens exercise their power.
Whenever there is a problem, difference or misunderstanding, if we start with dialogue, we will end up with a solution. It is not by accident that the institutional dialogue is embedded in the foundation of democracy.
Hence, I will do everything within my powers to promote dialogue and cooperation within the institutions of the state. Dialogue must be led here, in this house of democracy.
As Macedonia needs a commitment from all of its citizens, the Macedonian democracy also needs involved opposition, with fresh ideas, sound proposals and constructive criticism.
I have said, and I will say again that after elections there are no winners or losers, but we should all work for prosperity and success of the Republic of Macedonia, for advancement of personal and community life in Macedonia, for all of us.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my second time to serve as president of the Republic of Macedonia, obliged and committed to be one for all. To do my best for the national interests, the interests of all Macedonian citizens.
It is my duty and obligation to the people to fulfill the given word. To fulfill what is written in the electoral program. To meet the clear goals and the shared vision of all citizens. Vision of Macedonia we want to live in and want to leave to our children.
Politics has always been an aspiration for a common general good, for a better tomorrow for the people. Everyone lives in the hope of better living conditions.
As citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, we must know:
That hope and that aspiration we have inherited from our ancestors.
At times when they were enslaved, they aspired to liberty.
At times when they were oppressed, they aspired to justice.
At times when others tailored their fate, bringing decisions about us without us, they never lost the hope that one day their descendants would bring their own decisions about their present and their future.
Today, when we are on our own, we can say with certainty that the hope they fought for and won is our reality. We have a sovereign and independent country - the Republic of Macedonia, which obliges us to love, respect, protect and promote it.
Today I give a solemn oath and pledge to the citizens to respect the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Macedonia.
The Constitution I swore on obliges me to ensure the unity of the state. To be president of a sole, indivisible, sovereign, independent, democratic Republic of Macedonia.
Part of the leadership of a political party, before and during the presidential elections, insisted on some kind of a consensual president of the Republic of Macedonia. A category which neither exists in the Constitution and the laws nor is betoken in the Ohrid Agreement. It cannot be betoken. It either exists in the Constitution or not.
The given solemn oath obliges me to point out publicly and oppose the ideas and concepts that contradict the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Macedonia.
The given solemn oath and the trust of citizens given for a second term oblige me to resist all pressure and reaching for the national interests of the Republic of Macedonia.
One thing is an academic debate and a scientific debate on the future of the democracy, the foundations and prerequisites, its possibilities and limitations, and completely different thing is the functioning of the state and compliance with the established democratic process. A process that involves political and social coexistence, respecting the principles of legitimate diversity and non-discriminatory competition. A process that binds us to cooperation and dialogue with mutual respect and understanding, both in and out of the democratic institutions. In such conditions, reaching compromises, without blackmails and ultimatums, promotes peace and leads to non-escalation of conflicting and irreconcilable positions, without depriving the political minority of the opportunity to become a political majority.
The Constitution I swore on also obliges me to defend the constitutional name of our country. Therefore, I will not allow a change to the Constitution in order to change the constitutional name – the Republic of Macedonia.
I will not accept ideas or proposals that would threaten Macedonian national identity, distinctiveness of the Macedonian nation, the Macedonian language and the Macedonian model of coexistence.
Our shared vision is based on trust between the state and all of its citizens. A belief that the state will protect and promote the interests of its citizens, their rights and their freedoms. A belief that Macedonia can succeed and that one can succeed in Macedonia.
We believe in a safe and stable, European and Euro-Atlantic Macedonia, open to its neighbors and the world.
Macedonia as an independent and sovereign state in which the rule of law is established and guaranteed, in which human rights and civil liberties are guaranteed.
Macedonia in which peace and coexistence is provided, social justice, solidarity and progress of individual and community life.
Macedonia in which the centuries-old tradition of coexistence and acceptance and respect for diversity is nurtured.
Macedonia economically strong and developed, in which young people can receive a quality education, a job and conditions to form families and have offspring.
We need a stable and secure state, in which the constitutional order is respected. A state that builds peace, which contributes to the world peace with the peacekeeping missions and steps towards the European Union as a peace project.
This means that, as a supreme commander, I will take care of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia, which is the guarantor of peace and security and our biggest investment in achieving our strategic goals.
In terms of foreign policy, we remain faithful to our European and Euro-Atlantic path.
We recognize that the world in which more than 23 years ago we gained our independence is changing today before our eyes. The world is changing, but one thing remains the same - the need of the states and the citizens for less uncertainty and instability, and greater predictability and stability.
In such a world, it is necessary to have the international law in function. Both big and small, rich and poor, developed countries and developing countries must necessarily respect international obligations and implement international agreements.
In this unpredictable world, all shared challenges need to be solved jointly, as the United Nations. It is the essence of the international law, so that we can determine our common future.
Therefore, any violation of the international law today means undermining of the project of nations united for the good of all.
The only long term solution is the European Union and NATO member-states to remain consistent advocates for the respect of international treaties and implementation of international commitments.
In the coming period as well, we will continue to insist on respect of the obligations undertaken and effectuation of the International Court of Justice ruling. It is our duty towards the Macedonian citizens and contribution to the stability of the international legal order.
The deserved membership of the Republic of Macedonia in NATO is a test of the Alliance's commitment to the international treaties and obligations.
The start of negotiations for membership of the Republic of Macedonia in the European Union is a test of the credibility of the EU enlargement process.
Macedonia has passed the test for membership in NATO. Macedonia has passed the test to start negotiations for membership in the European Union.
As Macedonia remains committed to its European and Euro-Atlantic path, we expect the European Union and NATO to remain faithful to their principles: peace, democracy, the rule of law, human rights, the right to self-identification and human dignity. Principles in which we see the cause and the meaning of our integration.
The Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonian citizens are a benefit for the Union only if we enter as equal in the mosaic of diversity of the European Union, with our own identity and dignity.
Dear Fellow Citizens,
Committed to our European and Euro-Atlantic path, we continue to lead our authentic Macedonian foreign policy based on the principle of openness to all.
We remain open to those who are closest to us - our neighbors. Macedonia leads a policy of good neighbor. And, as a good neighbor, we will continue in our efforts to build bridges of friendship and cooperation. As a good neighbor, we continue to build corridors connecting us with all our neighbors. Infrastructure and energy, trade and economic, political and cultural corridors.
These corridors we are now building, these cooperation doors we open, will one day be used by our children and the children of our neighbors. They will live the future of the region we are now creating. We want to leave them a united European region, with erased boundaries of divisions and prejudices of the past.
We will initiate a new stage in the regional cooperation. Specific projects and tangible results for the sake of the citizens, not just declarative efforts, good intentions and wishes.
Priority will be given to interconnection of existing infrastructure corridors. This link will change the geography of the region, will erase the borders, prejudices and divisions and will promote cooperation and build the future of all countries in the region together.
Respected citizens of the Republic of Macedonia,
The Republic of Macedonia will not be limited to the region and Europe only. As a state and an economy, we have proven that we can successfully compete on the global market.
As before, each of my foreign policy activities will have an economic dimension, too. This policy should bring new foreign investors in Macedonia, open new opportunities for the Macedonian economy and new markets for selling Macedonian products.
Macedonia needs new jobs so that the economy can grow further. I will continue to support initiatives and projects for youth employment and self-employment. I will support all projects that drive progress, prosperity and success. Projects that bring a better life for every citizen.
Such Macedonia is needed for the youth. A state that will provide the future here, in Macedonia. A state that will provide possibilities for quality education, work and meaningful life.
Dear Fellow Citizens,
The Republic of Macedonia remains committed to its centuries-old traditions and values. Traditions of coexistence, respect and acceptance of diversity. Values shared by all Macedonian citizens: Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Roma, Serbs, Bosniaks. Christians, Muslims, Jews and atheists.
Traditions and values embedded in all documents of the Macedonian statehood, the Krusevo Manifesto and the ASNOM Declaration of Human Rights, through the civil and democratic character of the independent Republic of Macedonia, in the Ohrid Agreement, and, eventually, our Constitution.
Exactly five years ago, right from here, I said that the unity and vitality of the Macedonian society do not rely on the rule of the stronger or more numerous, but on the participation of all citizens and all communities in the functioning of the state and in the development of the society.
Not individually, but in togetherness. That is the core of our model.
We are all together, under one flag, under one sun. We are all together in our common homeland, the Republic of Macedonia, which we must build as a home of wellbeing for all.
A period of hard work is ahead of us, in complex international political and economic conditions, when we need to ensure greater unity, in order to achieve the national interests.
Self-assuredly, with confidence, we continue on the path chosen by the citizens. The path of a shared vision, continuity of reforms and achievement of set goals and projects.
Long live the Republic of Macedonia!
President of Republic of Macedonia is the voice of democracy, unity and patriotism
12 May 2009, Skopje, Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia
"We are being faced with yet another big challenge. A challenge that will most compellingly and clearly evidence our historic wisdom, our national commitments and our place in the world. This challenge is called European Macedonia", Dr. Gjorge Ivanov said, being the forth President of the Republic of Macedonia, in his inauguration speech in the Assembly, on 12 May 2009, after giving the oath and assuming the responsibility.
"The office of President of the Republic of Macedonia for me is first and foremost responsibility. Responsibility I am assuming before the citizens of Macedonia, taking a solemn oath that I will do my outmost and invest all of my capacity and credibility in the wellbeing of our country and citizens. This impressive responsibility does not recognize political options, ethnic or religious, cultural or local differences. The President of the Republic of Macedonia is the voice of each and every Macedonian citizen. The President is and will remain the voice of democracy, unity and patriotism", President Ivanov stressed.
In his very first address before the members of the parliament and present guests, he presented his vision of Macedonia, expressing that his political agenda is clear and unequivocal - Macedonia member of NATO and of the European Union, strong and respected, with proud, prosperous and happy citizens.
"For 18 years, the Republic of Macedonia has been living its dream of free, independent and democratic state. A dream of history and a reality of our present in which the ancient and rich Macedonian culture presented itself as a young, but vital and strong state at the political map of modern Europe", underlined Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, reminding that the Republic of Macedonia on that path has emerged as a bright example of open and multicultural society, has courageously faced the challenges of the Balkan past, creating its own functional model, which unites the citizens and ensures a common and prosperous future.
The Euro-Atlantic affiliation and policy of openness to all, President Ivanov has underlined as key in the foreign policy strategy of the country, emphasizing that he will work diligently to further strengthen and deepen the mutual trust and friendship, especially in the areas of economy and culture.
Another facet of the Macedonian foreign policy that President Ivanov will put the focus on is the good-neighborly policy and the contribution of Macedonia to the stability and prosperity of the Region. He committed himself that the Republic of Macedonia is determinedly striding on the road of regional cooperation founded on the equality principle. President Ivanov stressed that special attention will be dedicated to the relations with Greece, with which we have always been and will always be neighbors.
The official ceremony was attended by 4 foreign statesmen, the President of the Republic of Croatia, Stipe Mesic, the President of the Republic of Serbia, Boris Tadic, the President of the Republic of Albania Bamir Topi and the President of Montenegro, Filip Vujanovic. In the Parliamentary Hall, besides the Members of the Parliament, representatives of the diplomatic corps were present, as well as the former presidents, Branko Crvenkovski and Kiro Gligorov.
After the inauguration, the President-elect had the very first bilateral meetings with the statesmen from the region.
Inaugural address of the President-elect of Republic of Macedonia Dr. Gjorge Ivanov in the Assembly of Republic of Macedonia