Thursday, May 30, 2024

WHY IS THE PARLIAMENT’S GATHERING REQUESTED IN TIME OF PANDEMICS?

What is seen on the horizon is a line-up of SDSM with the Albanian ruling and opposition parties, with the exception of the DUI. Therefore, some reasons may have prompted this mess on the political scene at a time when it is estimated that the technical government has, to some extent, managed the situation well with pandemics.

Author: Xhelal Neziri

Former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), Zoran Zaev, resigned on January 3 this year to open the way for early elections. The election date was set for April 12, and the decision was made at një a meeting of leaders of the main parties, held in October last year with the country’s president, Stevo Pendarovski. The decision to run in for early elections was prompted by the French and Dutch vetoes in the European Council, which prevented North Macedonia from taking the promised date for the start of negotiations with the European Union (EU). In accordance with the norms of the e Przhino’s Agreement, which are now part of the e Government Law, the elections in the country are implemented by a technical government, which is formed one hundred days before the Election Day.

Article 43 of the Law states: “One hundred days before the elections for the Parliament, and after the previous resignation of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia will elect a new, transitional government to organize the elections. The Prime Minister is appointed by the party with the largest number of deputies in the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia.

Further, Article 44 states: “In order to organize early elections for the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia to be held in 2016, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia on the proposal of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, one hundred days before the day of elections for deputies in the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia elects the Minister of Interior and the Minister of Labor and Social Policy, on the proposal of the opposition with a mandate which lasts until the day of the announcement of the final results of the state elections by the Commission for early elections for deputies of the Republic of Macedonia, after which their mandate ceases by law. ”

A TECHNICAL OR A POLITICAL GOVERNMENT? 

In short, since 2016, the elections have been organized by a government of extended format, with the largest opposition party taking over the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (MLSP), and rightly appointing deputy ministers veto in other ministries. This solution was imposed four years ago, when North Macedonia found itself in a deep political and security crisis following the publication of wiretapped material by SDSM, then in opposition, exposing VMRO-DPMNE’s corrupt activities exercised strong power for ten years under the leadership of former Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski. What was not foreseen during the timing of this election was the corona virus, which until early March was an isolated problem in faraway China. When the first cases of the virus were reported in North Macedonia, political and state leaders again on March 17 at President Pendarovski’s office to cancel April 12 as a date for citizens to vote. The agreement was reached by consensus – the election should be canceled until the pandemic with the corona virus is over. The leaders agreed that the frozen electoral process should continue immediately after the crisis, with the election being held 21 days after the  the 30-day state of emergency is over, which was declared by President Pendarovski with the acceptance of all parties.

However, things were not going well. On April 16, Pendarovski continued the state of emergency for another 30 days, which opened many dilemmas regarding the extension of the term of the technical government. On April 12, its legal days ended, in accordance with the Government Law and the Przhino’s Agreement, but on the other hand, the reason for the cancellation of the elections remains in force. In addition, Zaev was left out of the prime minister’s office. At the beginning of May, it will be four months, or nearly 120 days, that the technical government will be headed by Oliver Spasovski, a Zaev party ally, and the police is in the hands of Nake Culev of VMRO-DPMNE. With Pendarovski’s new decision to postpone the state of emergency until May 17, the election is set to take place around mid-June, if the the risk from the corona virus is gone.

PARTY MATHEMATICS

Considering the warnings from reliable scientific and political centers, it seems that during the year there will be no conditions for holding elections. The vaccine still seems far-fetched, while there is unprecedented dissonance in the scientific world about how the COVID-19 virus can be cured. This seems to have sparked alarm in the circle of former Prime Minister Zaev, who now see the technical government as meaningless of electoral legitimacy represented by the parliamentary majority. Perhaps based on this, SDSM deputies and Albanian coalition partners – Alternative and DPA – signed the initiative to convene a meeting of Parliament to,  as officially stated, consider President Pendarovski’s latest decision to postpone the extraordinary situation. The initiative was also supported by the Albanian opposition parties, BESA and the Alliance for Albanians, but was not supported by Ali Ahmeti’s DUI. Against the initiative is VMRO-DPMNE, which says that there is no basis to return the deputies to the hall, as with the self-dissolution of the Parliament, the mandate of the deputies has ended.

What does the Constitution and the Law of Parliament say? Article 63 of the Constitution, among others, states: The mandate of deputies may be extended only in the event of a state of emergency or war. Meanwhile, Article 5 of the Law on the Parliament specifies, “the mandate of the Members of Parliament lasts from the day of its verification until the day of the verification of the mandate of the newly elected deputies, but not longer than four years.” So, with 20 signatures, the deputies can convene a session, as this right is guaranteed by the law and the constitution in time for the state of emergency. To achieve this, Parliament speaker, Talat Xhaferi, who is from DUI, needs to schedule the meeting. The latter has not yet been declared, although his party has not supported the initiative. Few connoisseurs of the political scene in North Macedonia believe in the official reason for the initiative to convene the session. What is seen on the horizon is a line-up of SDSM with the Albanian ruling and opposition parties, with the exception of DUI.

Therefore, some reasons may have prompted this mess on the political scene at a time when it is estimated that the technical government has, to some extent, managed the situation well with pandemics.

First, the annulment of the decision of the President of the state on the state of emergency and the holding of elections 21 days later, i.e. towards the end of May. This is closer to the goal that the initiators have officially proclaimed, which is a bit unreliable after the pandemic crisis, which seems to make the elections even more impossible.

Second, the dissolution of the technical government and the return of Zaev as a Prime Minister. This is more credible given the situation when we do not have a set date for elections, but we have a technical government. This government, at a time when we have a disbanded Parliament and a state of emergency, has great powers of government with decrees that have legal force as long as the crisis lasts. Therefore, we have a strong technical prime minister and a leader of the ruling party, who is waiting for new elections that are not known when they will take place.

Third, the formation of a new ruling coalition where SDSM would share power with all Albanian parliamentary parties, but without DUI. Such a government would lead the state until the next election, which could hardly be organized within a year. This has caused suspicions in Ahmeti’s party, so it is difficult to expect the speaker of Parliament, Xhaferi to schedule a meeting of the Parliament and bring the deputies to the hall again.        

Whatever is the real motive, based or not, at this moment the health of the citizens should be primary and not the political destiny of the individuals. It is a time of political truce, which requires close cooperation and the elimination of all differences on political, ethnic, gender or religious grounds. Otherwise, a new political crisis over this dangerous health and economic crisis would have an unpredictable epilogue.

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