Time: 11:29 p.m. CEST
by Aleksandra Dukovska
SKOPJE, Macedonia: Emil Dimitriev of VMRO-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity is elected in the Assembly of Republic of Macedonia on Monday with 71 votes “for,” but without support of the Members of the Parliament of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia. Dimitriev replaces Nikola Gruevski who resigned with written statement according to July 15 Agreement.
In the government of Dimitriev all ministers from the Gruveski’s government remain the same, but it was unclear what will happen with the Ministers from SDSM, part of the government as an obligation from the EU and the United States’ brokered July 15 agreement for solving the political crisis in the country.
Hours before the parliamentarians vote for the new government, the Assembly decided about the dissolution of the Parliament, but with decision, which will be effective on February 24, 2016, according to the current laws.
This decision prompted reaction among independent members of the Parliament, Pavle Trajanov, Ljiljana Popovska, Roza Topuzevska Karevska and Solza Grceva, who pointed out dissolution of the Parliament is not accordant with the Constitution and law’s requirement about this step. Macedonia is a parliamentary democracy, as defined with the Constitution, but even the yesterday’s session enlighten, the role of the Parliament turned out to be in service of the government.
In the afternoon on Monday, former Prime Minister Gruevski decided that Macedonia will pursue for an early elections on April 24, as defined with the July 15 Agreement. SDSM contested that decision on Monday and on last Friday after a marathon talks with the EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Johannes Hahn to postpone elections.
Dimitriev addressed the members of the Parliament and said that the role of the interim government would be “an action due to the implementation of the electoral process, free from dilemmas and eventual impacts on the election process.”
The Members of the Parliament from the opposition SDSM did not arrive in the plenary hall, either to vote, or to discuss. Several do inform Veljanovski for their absence. But, after the President of the Assembly Trajko Veljanovski opened yesterday’s session of the Parliament, the coordinator for the parliamentarian group of SDSM, Goran Sugervski briefly spoke from the podium. “SDSM is not accepting elections without reviewed voters’ list and regulation of the media,” Sugarevski eagerly explained.
The decision of VMRO-DPMNE to accept April 24 as a date for an early election was supported by two main parties of Albanians, also participants in the July 15 and post-July 15 negotiations facilitated by the representatives of the European Union and the United States Embassy in Macedonia.
Although, April 24 is the date scheduled with July 15 Agreement as an Election Day, SDSM’s President Zoran Zaev requested new date for an early election.
About 70 non-governmental organizations requested with a written statement of the European Commissioner Johannes Hahn another date for Election Day due to the various postponement to secure proper voter’s list and regulation of the media, according to the European standards.
Political parties, which are not represented in the Parliament after last elections in 2013, or newly registered contested the date for elections.
The office of the EU Commissioner Hahn reacted promptly when on Monday afternoon issued a statement “on the recent developments in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.” Hahn regrets the absence of the “consensual solution by all parties.”
“I take note of the decisions taken today to conduct early elections on 24 April as foreseen in the Przino agreement. But as stated, I would have preferred a consensual solution by all parties,” Hahn said in a statement with ‘all’ as an adjective underlined in the official statement.
Moreover, the Commissioner said, “It is critically important that all political and institutional actors in the country do their utmost to make sure fair elections in line with democratic standards. To make this, the urgent preparatory work must be stepped up, notably on the voters’ list.
Despite the failure for a common agreement, Hahn appealed “all political parties to cooperate constructively and to stick to all their commitments under the June/July political agreement, including the urgent reform priorities”
European Union mediator in the process, Peter van Houte remains in Skopje to overlook the working groups of four political parties on the remaining issues of the July 15 agreement, voter’s list and regulation of the media environment.
In a less than two weeks from January 18, Macedonia will mark one year of the moment when the President of SDSM, Zoran Zaev disclosed the intercepted conversations of government officials. But, exhausting political crisis started before these disclosures with occasional disruptions and disagreements between governing coalition and those in opposition, including NGO’s and unions.