Macedonia's opposition VMRO-DPMNE seeks to dismiss three government ministers

Macedonia's opposition VMRO-DPMNE seeks to dismiss three government ministers
The new government led by PM Zoran Zaev took office at the end of May, ending 11 years of VMRO-DPMNE rule.
By bne IntelliNews August 11, 2017

Macedonia’s opposition VMRO-DPMNE has filed no-confidence motions against three ministers in an attempt to put pressure on the new government led by the rival Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM). The conservative party is seeking the dismissal of Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Dimitrov, Agriculture Minister Ljupco Nikolovski and Finance Minister Dragan Tedovski. 

VMRO-DPMNE very reluctantly gave up its hold on power earlier this year after ruling the country for 11 years. It was expected to try to disrupt the new government led by the SDSM in an attempt to break up the ruling coalition, which also includes parties representing Macedonia’s ethnic Albanian minority, and achieve a comeback. 


The party started what is believed to be a campaign of no-confidence motions on August 8 with a motion against Nikolovski. This was followed later in the week with similar motions against Dimitrov and Tedovski. 

However, VMRO-DPMNE has no chance of getting the initiatives backed as the SDSM has a majority within the parliament. It recently initiated legislation expanding the use of the Albanian language within Macedonian institutions, meaning the Albanian parties are likely to continue to support the government at least for the time being. 

The main reasons for the motion against Tedovski are the adoption of the 2017 budget rebalance that VMRO-DPMNE believes will harm economic growth. The party says the changes will result in a substantial slashing of capital investments and an increase in Macedonia’s debts on international financial markets. It also accuses the government of disrespecting the parliament and manipulating economic data and indicators, the party's MP, Liljana Kuzmanovska told reporters on August 10, according to MIA.

The Macedonian parliament approved on August 6 the revision of the draft budget for 2017, which is based on a GDP projection of 2.2%.

The budget revision primarily aims to cut unproductive spending planned by the previous government led by VMRO-DPMNE. The new government accused VMRO-DPMNE of wasting money on expensive prestige projects and hiking the country's debt burden.

The SDSM responded to the motion against Tedovski, accusing VMRO-DPMNE of harming citizens’ interests in an August 10 statement. The party called the VMRO-DPMNE no-confidence motion “unfounded”.

“VMRO-DPMNE continues to work to the detriment of the citizens and confirms that it is against the transparent and accountable management of public finances and budget for the purpose of improving the living standards of the citizens and strengthening the economy,” the statement said. 

"By voting against the budget rebalance, drafted by the ministry of finance, VMRO-DPMNE has been showing — and has confirmed with today's no-confidence motion — that it doesn't support any step to permanently settle the issue involving the bankruptcy of workers, it is against the canceling of the broadcasting fee, financially supported annual vacations for low-income workers, against increased subsidies for enterprises, i.e. all the measures that are foreseen in the budget's rebalance," the statement said.