North Macedonia’s parliament approves interim government

North Macedonia’s parliament approves interim government
By Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje January 28, 2024

North Macedonia's parliament approved the formation of an interim government led by Prime Minister Talat Xhaferi on January 28.

This paves the way for general elections scheduled to take place on May 8, 100 days after the government's resignation, as per the EU-mediated Przino agreement from 2015.

The interim government received the nod from 65 MPs, with three dissenting votes in the 120-seat parliament.

While most ministers retained their positions, there were changes at the ministries of interior and labour and social affairs, which will be headed by opposition VMRO-DPMNE members Pance Toskovski and Gjoko Velkovski, respectively.

Before being sworn in, Xhaferi outlined the government's priorities. He stressed the commitment to organising fair and democratic elections, underscoring the importance of following the path of EU integration. Additionally, the government pledged to focus on economic prosperity and tackle inflation as priorities in the coming months.

The opposition VMRO-DPMNE leveled accusations against the ruling coalition, blaming them for corruption, the deficient health system and stalled infrastructure projects. Specifically, the Social Democrats were accused of giving excessive power to their junior partner, the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), with VMRO-DPMNE claiming this made Macedonians feel like “hostages” in their own state.

The path to the formation of the interim government began when former prime minister Dimitar Kovacevski submitted his resignation to the parliament on January 25. This signaled the collective resignation of the entire government to facilitate the upcoming general election.

The Przino agreement stipulates that the process of forming an interim government, which includes representatives from opposition parties, commences 100 days ahead of any impending general election.

On January 26, the parliament endorsed the resignation of Kovacevski and the entire government. Jovan Mitreski, a member of the ruling Social Democratic Party of Macedonia (SDSM), was appointed as the new speaker of the parliament, succeeding Xhaferi. Subsequently, President Stevo Pendarovski granted Xhaferi the mandate to form the interim government.

North Macedonia is set to conduct the initial round of the presidential elections on April 24. The second round is scheduled to take place on May 8, aligning with the general election day.