How Macedonian MPs debated during the constitutional session in the Parliament that followed the parliamentary elections conducted on 11 December 2016? The session for election a new parliamentary speaker from the newly formed majority dragged for a month and ended with violent incident in which several MPs including the leader of the majority and several journalist were injured in the parliaments premises by a group of masked protesters. Therefore, this constitutional session was the longest and the most tense in the history of the Parliament.
- Opposition MPs were more active during the constitutive session. Opposition MPs participated with 81% of the discussions, while majority MPs participated with 19% of the discussions. The most active MP who appeared several times to take the floor is Ilija Dimovski, who took the floor 132 times during the discussion.
- According to the type of discussions during the constitutive session, the ratio is almost equal. 34% of the discussions were replies, 33% counter-replies, while 32% of the discussions were speeches.
- Referring to the type of discussion according to the political affiliation of the speakers, although there is a balance between the government and the opposition in the speeches, the opposition dominates with replies (92%) and counter-replies (100%).
- In 29% of the discussion the MPs had no arguments. Half of the discussion is characterized by weak argumentation (50%), while in 20% of the discussion MPs used only one argument to explain their position.
- The degree of argumentation according to political affiliation shows that the ruling MPs used multiple arguments in their speeches, they used at least 1 argument in 46% of their discussion, while opposition MPs in only 15%.
- Regarding how the MPs respond to the arguments put forward by other speakers, it can be concluded that they mostly only partially address, partly distort or ignore the arguments (48%). What’s most striking is that the arguments were appropriately addressed in only 6% of the discussion.
- Analyzed according to the political affiliation of the speakers, we can conclude that the opposition MPs partially addressed, partly distorted or ignored the arguments of others in 50% of their statements, and also in 14% of the discussion, although they did not ignore the arguments they were distorted. Compared to the opposition, the government completely ignored the arguments of other speakers in only 2% of their discussion, while the opposition MPs did so in 8% of their speeches.
- The MPs continue with the immutability of attitudes and positions due to better interlocutors’ arguments. In 32% of the discussion, there was no reference to whether the MPs changed their position, and in 47% of the discussion there was no change in attitudes, because the MPs had the same position, and they recognized the value of the arguments. In 20% of the discussion, the MPs did not change their position, and did not recognize the arguments, and in only 1%, although the MPs had a different position and did not change their position, they accepted the value of the arguments of the other speaker.
- The opposition MPs in 56% of their discussion did not have a change of attitude, they held the same position, and acknowledged the value of arguments, while in 15% of their discussion the opposition MPs did not change their position and did not admit the arguments. 40% of the discussion of the government is characterized by no change of attitude and no recognition of arguments, while 48% is characterized by no reference. MPs again, as shown by previous IDSCS reports on the quality of the debate in Parliament, firmly stand in their positions, without the will for a constructive debate, and changing the position for a better argument.
- The most worrying thing is that MPs most often direct their attitude towards the personality of other MPs rather than to arguments. This shows that the discussion takes place at the level of comments on someone’s person, rather than on a good consideration of the arguments of the other. In 73% of the discussion, they expressed no sign of respect or disrespect for the arguments of the other speakers, while in 24% of the discussion they expressed partial respect. This is mostly due to the fact that the bulk of the discussion, as we pointed out previously, was between MPs from the same political party (coalition). The MPs were more explicit when it came to dealing with the personality of MPs from the other political option. Speakers in most of the discussions expressed some kind of attitude towards the personality of the other MPs. Thus, respect is expressed in only 2% of cases, and partial respect in as much as 54% of cases. That means that the MPs in many of the discussions did not resist imposing mocking or milder insulting expressions and attacks on the personality of their counterparts from the opposing political options.
- What is important to note is that in only 2% of their speeches, both MPs from the government and the opposition have expressed respect for the personality of their colleagues from another political party.
- It is also important to note that women participated with only 28% of the discussions, while men accounted for 72%.
The complete report from the monitoring of the quality of debate is available on the following link: