Political parties seek ways for Macedonian assembly to reconvene

Political parties seek ways for Macedonian assembly to reconvene
By Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje May 16, 2016

Three of Macedonia’s main political parties, which will boycott the June 5 early general elections, are seeking ways for the Macedonian parliament to reconvene.

The conservative governing VMRO-DPMNE is the only party to have submitted candidate lists for the June elections, and it is unclear whether the vote will go ahead. However, this leaves Macedonia - which is in the midst of a deep political crisis - in limbo as the assembly already disbanded itself on April 6.

The ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), a junior partner in the Macedonian government, will file another initiative to the Constitutional Court on May 16 to annul the decision for the dissolution of the parliament, Radio Slobodna Evropa reported on May 15.

The new initiative will include remarks by the state election commission on irregularities in the number of voters in three electoral units. The DUI filed the first initiative to the Constitutional Court on May 13.

The DUI, alongside with the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) and the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), also in opposition, did not submit candidate lists for June elections to the state election commission, which has confirmed that VMRO-DPMNE will be the only party that will take part.

Following a meeting with German special envoy for Macedonia Johannes Haindl on May 13, DUI leader Ali Ahmeti said that the party is in talks with other political parties and legal experts to find ways for the parliament to reconvene as soon as possible, as a way for solving the political crisis in the country, the party said in a statement.

The SDSM also called on May 15 for the parliament to resume its work as soon as possible, Radio Slobodna Evropa said.

“There is a legal basis for this, but not political determination by VMRO-DPMNE,” SDSM leader Damjan Mancevski was quoted as saying.

SDSM’s leader Zoran Zaev has said several times that there are no conditions for free and democratic elections in June. Conditions include clearing of the voters’ registry and media reforms.

Meanwhile VMRO-DPMNE leader and former prime minister Nikola Gruevski told AFP, in an interview published on May 15, that the party is ready to stand in the election on June 5 despite the boycott by the opposition SDSM and the ethnic Albanian parties, as well as international disapproval.

Gruevski, an economist and amateur boxer, also said that after the June 5 elections Macedonia could face another snap vote in the next few months to give citizens another chance to choose.

Gruevski stepped down in January as part of the EU-mediated Przino Agreement which was concluded in July 2015 to overcome the deep political crisis in the country. The crisis was triggered when the SDSM released a number of tapes with recorded conversations concerning, among other things, the involvement of the VMRO-DPMNE-led government in the judiciary, media and key appointments.

However, Macedonia was plunged into a new political crisis in April when President Gjorge Ivanov decided to pardon 56 politicians, most of them from the VMRO-DPMNE, including Gruevski, which were under criminal investigation.

Protests have taken place almost daily since Ivanov’s announcement on April 12. After break on Sunday, anti-government protests in Macedonia, dubbed the “Colourful Revolution”, will continue on May 16. Protestors’ tactics include splattering of paint at baroque-style government buildings and monuments, which are part of the costly Skopje 2014 project to refurbish the capital.


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