Skopje must have a government by Monday

NAKE BATEV

President Gjorge Ivanov addresses the nation during a press conference in Skopje, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 27 May 2016. Ivanov decided to revoke the abolition of 22 out of 56 judicial cases that he announced on 12 April 2016. The abolitions related to the big wire-tapping scandal invoked massive protest, dubbed 'the colorful revolution' in the capital and other cities of Macedonia. The crisis started in 2015 when opposition SDSM started to publish illegally recorded wire-tapped phone conversations of the highest Governmental officials claiming they show financial crime and eventual evidences of electoral frauds of the ruling conservative VMRO-DPMNE party of then PM Gruevski. Gruevski denied everything saying 'foreign intelligence services' are trying to topple his Government he was administrating from 2006.

That is not going to be an easy choice for the President who has to juggle with conflicting expectations


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on LinkedIn
+

The President of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Gjorge Ivanov, has until Monday to decide who should be given the mandate to form a government.

The Constitution provides that the President must give a mandate to one of the winning parties no later than 20 days after the elections.

The numbers

On December 11, 2016, the country went to the polls, but the result was a virtual tie. The VMRO-DPMNE secured 38% of the popular vote, versus 37% for the opposition Social Democrats 37%. The different is 17,000 votes.

However, this 1% translated to 2 more seats. The Parliament has 123 seats, of which three are reserved for the Diaspora. However, because of low participation, Diaspora seats will remain vacant.

The incumbent VMRO won 51 seats in the election, while the opposition 49. The kingmakers will be the Albanian minority parties that secured 20 seats.

Both the former Prime Minister, Nicola Gruevski, and the leader of the opposition, Zoran Zaev, have claimed victory and want the mandate to form a government. Mathematically, both can, but in this political standoff, anyone granted initiative will have a political advantage.

What can happen?

Typically, the first party gets the first mandate to form a government.

But, the elections were not entirely unblemished. On December 11, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) found several irregularities with party funding – for VMRO-DPMNE – the electoral list, party registration, voter intimidation, misuse of administrative resources, and pressure on civil servants. Other than that “the election day was good” according to OSCE special coordinator Roberto Battelli.

The opposition calls for regime change. The Social Democrats claim they will inform the President they already have the parliamentary support necessary. And they will step forward to form a government.

The big question is ‘what will the Albanian parties that hold the key to power do,’ and at what price. Have the seats (10) are held by the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), which has ruled with VMRO for little under a decade. But, although the DUI is a potential kingmaker, its leadership is also aware that it has lost half its voters since 2014.

Call for regime change

Nicola Gruevski has served as Prime Minister for over a decade. He is burdened with an illegal wiretapping operation targeting over 20,000 people, including parliamentarians, journalists, judges, the police, and even religious leaders.

He was forced to resign at the beginning of 2016. In an interview with Republika, he is suggesting that Non-Governmental Organizations funded by George Soros are trying to topple VMRO from power.

epa04780589 European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn (C), accompanied by the Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski (L) and opposition leader Zoran Zaev (R), addresses the media in Skopje, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 02 June 2015. Hahn arrived in Macedonia to help with the political crisis between the opposition and the Macedonian government.  EPA/GEORGI LICOVSKI

European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn (C), accompanied by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski (L) and opposition leader Zoran Zaev (R), addresses the media in Skopje, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 02 June 2015. Hahn arrived in Macedonia to help with the political crisis between the opposition and the Macedonian government. EPA/GEORGI LICOVSKI

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on LinkedIn
+