Protests in Skopje in advance of Constitutional Court decision on electoral fraud

By bne IntelliNews March 16, 2016

A protest in Skopje organised by a civil association supported by the opposition Social Democrats ahead of the pending Constitutional Court decision whether the president will be allowed to pardon people convicted for election fraud, sparked a counter-protest by supporters of the governing VMRO-DPMNE party on March 15.

The Constitutional Court will make the final decision on March 16 in a closed session. The new protests again raised tensions in the capital ahead of the snap general election planned for June 5. The election is seen as a way for the country to overcome the current political deadlock.

Several thousand people, organised by NGO Ajde and the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), staged a protest in downtown Skopje ahead of the court's session, but were prevented by police in armoured vehicles from continuing their march towards the Constitutional Court building, where they planned to spend the night.

At the same time, another group of protestors organised by VMRO-DPMNE’s coalition partner, GROM, held a counter-protest in the place where the night vigil was planned. The counter-protestors said they were there to defend state institutions and the country’s constitutional order, daily Utrinski Vesnik reported.

Downtown Skopje was closed to traffic for several hours. The SDSM said on its website that some 12,000 people participated in the protest.

The Constitutional Court's decision follows the launch of an investigation into election fraud by the Special Prosecution office, which has requested the detention of eight people, including high-level members of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE, and ex-ministers of interior and transport, who are among the suspects.

According to critics, the Constitutional Court is greatly influenced by the governing party.

NGO Ajde held similar protests against the Constitutional Court’s plans to allow the president to pardon election riggers in February. President Gjorge Ivanov has not commented on the highest court’s decision.

The special prosecutor’s office, led by Katica Janeva, which was set up as part of the Przino agreement for overcoming the political crisis in Macedonia, is investigating allegations based on illegal recordings of incriminating conversations between senior officials obtained by the opposition SDSM party.

The election fraud case - named "Titanik" - was the first case launched by the special prosecutors. The request for the detention of eight people in the Titanik case was immediately dismissed by the basic court in Skopje, which also rejected the complaints that followed.

News portal Faktor wrote in February that the initiative to amend the law on pardoning was submitted to the Constitutional Court by a lawyer from the team that represented the defendants in the Titanik election fraud case.

The prosecutor’s statement on February 12 lists former ministers of interior affairs and transport among the suspects. Gordana Jankulovska and Mile Janakieski were at the top positions in the ministry of interior and transport respectively in 2012, in the government led by prime minister Nikola Gruevski of the VMRO-DPMNE.

Related Articles

Macedonia’s democracy rating falls to seven year low on Freedom House index

Democracy in Macedonia has dropped to its lowest level in the last seven years, according to Freedom House’s latest "Nations in Transit" report released on April 4. ... more

Overlooked carbon costs spell financial trouble for Western Balkan coal power plants

Ten coal-fired power plant projects across the Western Balkans are facing serious financial problems as they have not taken properly into account carbon costs, according to ... more

Macedonian president refuses to meet EU Commissioner Hahn

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn’s attempt to resolve the political deadlock in Macedonia received a setback when President Gjorge Ivanov cancelled his planned meeting with the ... 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 sales@intellinews.com

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:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

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 sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

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.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss