Macedonian 'Coup' Charges Alarm US, EU

Macedonian government building | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

The EU and US have urged Macedonia to follow due legal process following dramatic developments at the weekend when opposition leader Zoran Zaev was accused of attempting a coup.

Police have charged the Social Democrat leader with espionage and with making violent threats aimed at the government with the goal of undermining constitutional order.

"These are very serious charges and we recall the inalienable right for an independent and transparent investigation in case of any alleged wrongdoing, with full respect of the rights of the defendants in accordance with the law and international standards, including the principle of presumption of innocence," EU spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said.

"The EU also reiterates its concern about the deterioration in political dialogue in the country. Political parties must refrain from actions which would further undermine the situation," Kocijancic added.

The US embassy in Skopje said it had been "attentively following the latest developments related to the coup case", adding that legal standards need to be observed.

"We call upon the authorities to meet the highest standards on rule of law, transparency, protection of freedom of speech as well as legal independence during the process, in order to ensure the integrity of the democratic process in Macedonia," the embassy stated.

In a TV address on Saturday, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said Zaev had threatened to publish compromising data from conversations involving top state officials unless he agreed to the immediate formation of a caretaker government that would include his own Social Democratic Party, SDSM.

"I do not accept threats and blackmails and these kinds of set-ups. They will not pass," Gruevski said.

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