North Macedonia Parties Close to Deal on Technical Govt

The Prime Minister and head of the main ruling Social Democratic Party, Zoran Zaev, and the head of the main opposition VMRO DPMNE party, Hristijan Mickoski, were expected to strike a final deal at the weekend on the formation of a so-called technical government in January, 100 days ahead of the April 12 early elections.

The formation of the new government, which would require Zaev's resignation on January 3, and the inclusion of opposition ministers and deputies in several key posts, stems from the 2015 so-called Przino political agreement.

Then, amid a deep political crisis, the rival parties agreed that ahead of every general election, a technical government would be formed to ensure a fair vote and remove doubts about rigging and political pressures.

Under the deal, the post of Prime Minister remains with the ruling party, and the Social Democrats on Friday confirmed that they will nominate current Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski to replace Zaev.

VMRO DPMNE is also expected to soon reveal the names of ministers and deputies who will be appointed from its ranks, most notably to the Interior and Social Affairs Ministries, which have been marked in the past as potentially the most likely to conduct electoral irregularities.

The talks between the party leaders were expected to go more or less smoothly. Earlier, after the opposition in parliament used lengthy discussions to block the passage of some 40 laws and regulations proposed by the ruling majority, Zaev threatened not to resign in early January, which would have likely postponed the elections.

In his reply, Mickoski warned that, in such a case, the Social Democrats "would have to deal with the people", hinting at the possibility of street protests.

Most of these...

Continue reading on: