Krasniqi "case" - bleakest, ESM privatization - lightest event
The withdrawal of arrest warrant for Agim Krasniqi, a notorious criminal who turned a village outside Skopje into a no-go zone for the police and was allowed to walk free, tops the list of "bleak" events in August 2005.
Chief editors of 18 printed and electronic media, who took part in the opinion poll Corruption Barometer, conducted on monthly basis by the independent news agency Makfax and the NGO Transparency Macedonia, have singled out this event.
From the scarce choice of "light" events in August, the pollsters singled out Government's decision to privatize Electric Power Company of Macedonia (ESM) gradually, one segment at a time.
Seven out of 18 chief editors have placed "Krasniqi case" at the top of the "bleak" events list. Their common impression is that government allies struck a political bargain to negotiate with a person suspected of inciting serious security threats.
The pollsters also said that illicit actions have been taken in the case proceedings, regardless of the supposed compliance with the criminal law proclaimed
by the Government and the highest judicial authorities, concerning investigative judges' order for withdrawal of the Krasniqi's arrest warrant.
The position of the Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski and the Government regarding tete-a-tete contracts garnered 4 votes, putting the event second on the list of "bleak" events in August. The Prime Minister and the Government stood firmly on their stance that conclusion of direct contracts is a legitimate practice of "strategic interest" of Macedonia. The adamant stance endured, despite the additional questions sent by EU pertaining to this practice, as well as the warning by the World Bank mission in Macedonia.
Four more events have been included in the shortlisted bleak events in August. Raised prices of road tolls, payment i.e. non-payment of road tolls, and the non-transparent expenditure of the funds generated by this fee have been ranked third on the "bleak" list.
Garnering two votes, the Agriculture Ministry has been ranked fourth on the same list, on the account of its flaws in granting state-owned land to individual farmers in the eastern part of Macedonia.
The two bottom places on the list are shared equally by corruption cases in the prisons, and the Telecom's decision to authorize a third company for payment collection.
Government's decision to privatize Electric Power Company of Macedonia (ESM) on gradual basis i.e. one segment at a time, garnered 11 votes to top the "light events" list. The respondents share the opinion that the Government gave up its intention to privatize the company as a whole, including its production capacities, following the pressure piled by the public and experts, and the recommendations of the World Bank.
According to the chief editors-respondents, the second (and the last) positive event in August is the Macedonian Parliament's support given to the National Anti-Corruption Commission, during the review of the 2004 activities report.
The opinion poll, run by Makfax news agency and NGO Transparency Macedonia included editors-in-chief of Macedonian national broadcaster MTV, private television stations: A1, Telma, Sitel and Channel 5, daily newspapers: Dnevnik, Utrinski Vesnik, Vest, Vreme, Vecer, Fakti, Lajm and Biznis, weekly newspapers: Aktuel, Kapital, Fokus and Lobi, and monthly magazine Forum.