Macedonia’s DUI raises pressure on president by pledging to join SDSM-led government

Macedonia’s DUI raises pressure on president by pledging to join SDSM-led government
By bne IntelliNews March 5, 2017

Macedonia’s ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) party says it will join a Social Democrat-led government. The party has again urged President Gjorge Ivanov to give a mandate to the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) leader to form the new cabinet.

Ivanov has refused to give the mandate to the SDSM’s Zoran Zaev even though he had put together a majority. This intensified the deep political crisis that has persisted since the 2015 wiretapping scandal. Macedonia has been without a new government since the December 11 snap election.

The SDSM has gathered enough signatures from MPs from the DUI and other ethnic Albanian parties represented in the parliament to form a majority. However, Ivanov said on March 1 that he would not entrust the mandate to Zaev, citing the SDSM leader’s acceptance of the platform drawn up by the ethnic Albanian parties which, according to the president, threatens the unitary character of the country. Ivanov fears that the platform, which envisages wider official use of the Albanian language in Macedonia and other concessions to the Albanian minority, could destroy the country’s sovereignty, integrity and independence.

The DUI previously said it would support an SDSM-led majority but had been hesitant about whether to support a minority SDSM-led government or to enter into a coalition.

However, the decision to enter the government led by the SDSM was passed unanimously by the DUI presidency on March 4. This is likely to increase the pressure on Ivanov to reconsider. 

Meanwhile, the mass protests that started on February 27 continued in Skopje and other cities in Macedonia over the weekend. Protestors, supported by the VMRO-DPMNE party, are against the ethnic Albanian platform, which seeks more rights for ethnic Albanians. The protests are supported by some renowned Macedonian artists, musicians and actors.

DUI leader Ali Ahmeti said on March 4 that if the president sticks to the decision not to give the mandate to Zaev, other options would be considered like convening the assembly and voting for a new government without a mandate, which is also regulated in the Constitution, according to news agency MIA.

In a party statement on March 5 the DUI said that the new reformist government will work in the spirit of the Ohrid Agreement (signed in 2001 to end a serious inter-ethnic conflict in Macedonia) and will be committed to the rule of law and integration into Nato and the European Union.

DUI gained 10 seats in the 120-seat parliament and with the other two ethnic Albanian parties, Besa and the Alliance for Albanians, supported the runner-up SDSM (49 seats) to form a government. VMRO-DPMNE narrowly won the election (with 51 seats) but failed to secure a majority in the parliament.

Zaev believes he will form the reformist government despite the recent refusal by Ivanov to give him a mandate.

Referring to the VMRO-DPME request for a new snap election, Zaev said it would only deepen the crisis.

“Citizens expect a quick and peaceful transfer of power,” Zaev said in a party statement on March 5.

“We are securing equality and stability, unity not divisions, integration not isolation.” Zaev said.

During her visit to Skopje on March 3, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also urged Ivanov to give the mandate to Zaev in line with the constitution, after he secured a parliamentary majority.

Mogherini said that parliamentary majorities and the powers of the state institutions, in particular of the parliament, should always be respected.

“I am sure also that there is a way of avoiding turning this institutional crisis into an ethnic or inter-ethnic conflict in the country; or even worse, into a geopolitical conflict. Because your country is not subject to an external threat,” Mogherni was cited as saying.



Related Articles

Skopje court rejects special prosecutor's request to freeze VMRO assets

A Skopje court rejected a request from the Special Prosecutor's Office (SPO) to freeze part of the assets of the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party on May 23, according to local media reports. SPO ... more

Suspended sentences issued for Macedonian parliament violence

Nine people indicted for their role in violent incidents in the Macedonian parliament at the end of April were given suspended sentences by a Skopje court on May 23.  The nine were indicted ... more

Macedonian interior ministry suspends 16 police officers over parliament storming

Macedonia's interior ministry suspended 16 policemen on May 20, including one senior officer in the ministry, for failing to attempt to stop the violent incidents in the parliament on April 27, ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at