Russian foreign ministry accuses west of meddling in Macedonia

By bne IntelliNews February 2, 2017

The Russian foreign ministry expressed support for Macedonia’s conservative VMRO-DPMNE party on February 2, and accused Western countries of "manipulating the will" of the Macedonian citizens, as expressed in the December 11 general election.

The statement came a few days after VMRO-DPMNE, which narrowly won the election, failed to form a government with its former coalition partner, the Democratic Union of Integration (DUI). Moscow is now accusing the west of attempting to remove politicians it sees as undesirable from power, even though the talks appear to have broken down because of concessions demanded by the DUI for Macedonia's ethnic Albanian minority. 

The Russian foreign ministry said in the statement that “obviously there is an enormous external pressure on the political forces in Macedonia.”

“The aim is clear. Removal of Macedonian politicians who are undesirable for the west and re-structuring of the power despite the expressed support of voters for the coalition led by Nikola Gruevski and the DUI led by Ali Ahmeti,” the statement said.

“Shameless Machiavelli-style manipulation of voters will threaten to explode the situation in Macedonia and disturb the fragile stability of the entire Balkan region,” the statement added.

The ministry noted that the election in Macedonia did not lead to a resolution of the political crisis in the country, which has deepened following the election.

The European Union is insisting that Macedonian political leaders form a stable government based on broad consensus on key reform priorities to enable the country to move forward towards EU integration. It seems that the Social Democratic Union for Integration (SDSM) party, which came second in the election, is closer to this concept.

Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said on February 1 he will give the mandate to form a new government only to a party or coalition that has secured a majority in the parliament. This means that the SDSM would have to collect 61 signatures to be able to form the government. Ivanov did not set such a condition to Gruevski when giving him the mandate in early January even though he also did not have outright majority.

Some experts say that Ivanov breached the Constitution when he failed to give the mandate to the SDSM as the second biggest party.

This is not the first time the Russian foreign ministry has commented on the post-election situation in Macedonia. Following the December 11 election, the ministry in Moscow said it was pleased that the atmosphere during the Macedonian election was calm and that the international observers, including representatives from Russia, did not record any major election violations.

“We call on the country’s political forces to respect the will of the electorate and to act strictly within the constitutional framework to preclude any counterproductive external influence on the formation of the new cabinet,” the foreign ministry of Russia said at the time.

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