Macedonia opposition leader given mandate to form government


For the first time in a decade, the opposition Social Democrats (SDSM) are given the mandate to form a government in Skopje, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

"All our efforts will be to build a just and legal state, to provide conditions for the quality of life of all citizens in Macedonia with mutual understanding, and to respect the multiethnic character of the country", he said.

In 2015, Gruevski's nemesis Zaev began releasing tapes which appeared to show mass surveillance and top-level corruption under the VMRO, sparking huge street protests on both sides.

The country of around two million people, which aspires to join both the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, has been mired in a deep political crisis for two years since a huge wiretapping scandal erupted.

President Ivanov has been withholding the mandate for new government to Zaev since early March, despite Zaev having by then mustered a majority in parliament with the support of the main ethnic Albanian parties.

Government-run institutions, particularly the courts, and most of the media were under the control of VMRO-DPMNE, which drew huge criticism among worldwide community, experts and the local population. The platform adopted on January 7 by three ethnic Albanian parties, dubbed the "Tirana platform" by its critics, fuelled tension among some of the population and in VMRO-DPMNE ranks.

The election earlier this month of Talat Xhaferi, Macedonia's parliament speaker, an ethnic Albanian and former guerrilla, prompted nationalists to storm into parliament where they assaulted MPs. The ethnic Albanian parties demanded that the Albanian language be designated a second official language as a condition for joining a new government.

However, making such changes seems nearly impossible, as they would need a two-thirds majority in the parliament which would be impossible without VMRO-DPMNE MPs, who are sternly against them.

Over 100 people were injured, including Zaev.

The SDSM blamed VMRO-DPMNE for being behind the bloody incidents in the parliament.

But at a ceremony with Ivanov on Wednesday, Zaev handed him a written guarantee that the coalition would not undermine Macedonia's constitutional order or sovereignty.

The reason for his statement is the mandate which was given by the President of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov to the leader of the Social Democratic Union Zoran Zaev to form a government.

According to Balkan Insight, global pressure compelled VMRO-DPMNE to condemn the attack, and Ivanov to soften his position on Zaev.

"We expect now a swift formation of the government committed to implementing all parts of the Przino agreement and the Urgent Reform Priorities", Mogherini and Hahn said in a joint statement.

"Now everything is in the hands of the political forces in Macedonia".