North Macedonia’s president extends state of emergency after spike in new COVID-19 cases

By bne IntelliNews May 31, 2020

North Macedonia’s President Stevo Pendarovski announced on May 30 that he has extended the state of emergency for two weeks after the number of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases drastically increased in the last few days.

The president declares state of emergency due to the coronavirus for the first time on March 18 for a one-month period and then it extended it for 14 days. This was the third extension of the state of emergency since the outbreak of the epidemic.

“Due to the increased number of infected and deceased persons I will declare a new 14-day state of emergency which will start from tomorrow,” Pendarovski said on May 30.

On May 29 and May 30 North Macedonia registered 52 and 35 new cases respectively after the number of newly infected was moving around 20 on a daily basis.

Pendarovski added that his decision was made only to enable the government and competent institutions to deal more efficiently with the coronavirus epidemic and is not related with the date of the parliamentary elections.

Pendarovski appealed to the government to sanction all citizens who do not respect the measures, without exception, regardless of their ethnic and religious affiliation.

Only several municipalities, particularly in Skopje mainly populated with ethnic Albanians, are now critical in terms of increased number of cases, which followed after the Muslim holiday Ramadan on May 24 which is celebrated with mass gatherings.

“The negative trends observed in some municipalities should not be a reason for a return of the restrictive measures on the whole territory and to all citizens,” Pendarovski underlined.

He also urged political parties to agree on an election date as soon as possible as the state does not have a parliament, and the interim government has limited powers, which makes the political situation very difficult.

“The state simply cannot function for months only in a state of emergency,” Pendarovski underlined.

Interim PM Oliver Spasovski said that with the last extension of the state of emergency, the date of election should be July 5 or 22 days after the state of emergency ends.

The ruling Social Democrats insisted on holding snap election as soon as possible with June 21 as a possible date, which now is not possible due to the prolongation of the state of emergency.

Opposition VMRO-DPMNE argues that the election should be held in August or September due to the still high number of people infected with the virus.

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