Macedonia’s Constitutional Court stops all pre-election activities

Macedonia’s Constitutional Court stops all pre-election activities
By Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje May 18, 2016

Macedonia’s Constitutional Court took the temporary measure on May 18 to halt all activities arising from the decision to dissolve the parliament, including the plans to hold early elections on June 5. A final ruling will be made on May 25.

This will put on hold the plans of the governing VMRO-DPMNE to stand in the election, after the other three main political parties decided to boycott the vote, saying conditions for a free and democratic election had not been met. The European Commission and other international observers had already warned that the election would not be credible.

The ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), VMRO-DPMNE’s junior partner in the government, referred the issue to the Constitutional Court. The DUI insists that the dissolution was unconstitutional because the parliament was disbanded on April 6 before the parliament speaker called the election, which happened on April 15.

The Constitutional Court unanimously decided to launch a proceeding to review the constitutionality of the decision to dissolve the parliament and the final ruling is expected to be taken on May 25, broadcaster Telma reported.

If found unconstitutional, the decision to dissolve the parliament will be annulled along with all activities related to it, mostly importantly the calling of the election.

The DUI, together with Macedonia’s main opposition parties the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) and the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), did not submit candidate lists by the May 11 deadline.

DUI leader Ali Ahmeti praised the decision, which will allow the parliament to reconvene as a first step towards resolving Macedonia’s political crisis.

“I invite all leaders, media and civil society to act with full responsibility in regard to the situation, to contribute to restoring security and stability and to strongly commit to a serious reform agenda," Ahmeti said in a post on his Facebook page.

An interim government was put in place earlier this year in advance of the election, as agreed under the Przino agreement intended to end Macedonia’s political crisis in 2015.

However, the country was plunged back into crisis in mid-April, when President Gjorge Ivanov decided to pardon politicians facing criminal proceedings, and protests dubbed the “Colourful Revolution” have taken place almost daily since then.

The Constitutional Court's move is likely to be welcomed by protesters, who opposed the plans for a snap election.

The European Commission said on May 16 that under the current circumstances, any government resulting from elections, in which three major parties were not participating, would not be a credible partner for the international community.

European Commission spokesperson Maja Kocijancic, said in a statement sent to bne IntelliNews on May 16 that the Commission has repeatedly stressed the need to clean the electoral roll, ensure balanced media reporting and investigate the intimidation of voters.