Macedonian PM to step down

Macedonian PM to step down
By Dimitar Koychev in Sofia January 15, 2016

Macedonia’s prime minister Nikola Gruevski said he will submit his resignation to the parliamentary speaker on January 15, as envisaged by the Przino Agreement that resolved the deep political crisis last July. The resignation will become effective 100 days before the date of the planned early parliamentary elections, he said. This condition takes into account the possibility of postponing the early parliamentary elections, presently scheduled for April 24.

According to the Przino Agreement, a new government has to be sworn in by January 15, with a mandate to organise the vote.

At the same time, the ruling VMRO-DPMNE nominated Emil Dimitriev as prime minister of the new transitional government. Born in 1979, Dimitriev is a lawmaker and secretary general of VMRO-DPMNE.

In his address, Gruevski insisted that the early general elections must be held on April 24, as originally planned. This is also strongly recommended by the EU commissioner in charge of European neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations, Johannes Hahn, who will visit Macedonia on January 15.

“15 January is a key deadline of the political agreement, the implementation of which is important both for the government and the citizens of the country. I expect that the outstanding elements of the political agreement will be resolved before or during my visit, allowing the election authorities to organise credible elections according to the agreed timetable,” Hahn said in a statement on January 14. 

However, on January 13 the leader of the biggest opposition party SDSM, Zoran Zaev, told Prizma website that conditions have not been created yet for fair elections. He pointed to media regulations and the checking of the voters’ lists as the two most serious outstanding issues that are impossible to solve by the original January 15 deadline. Zaev said that he could accept a new election date sometime before September 2016.