North Macedonia’s Caretaker Govt Hits Constitutional Obstacle

The formation of North Macedonia's caretaker government, tasked with ensuring democratic early general elections on April 12, has encountered new complications after the opposition VMRO DPMNE party proposed an army lieutenant-colonel, Dragan Kovacki, as caretaker interior minister.

The government and the opposition now have until January 3 to overcome the problem that stems from the constitution, which prohibits people in uniform from leading the Interior Ministry. If the deadline isn't met, the April elections might have to be postponed.

The problem emerged over the weekend after Prime Minister and main ruling Social Democratic party leader, Zoran Zaev, met opposition VMRO DPMNE head Hristijan Mickoski on Saturday to discuss ministerial posts.

On Sunday, the Social Democrats rejected Kovacki as the caretaker interior minister, insisting that the opposition should have known that this is in direct conflict with the constitution.

"The constitution is clear. According to article 97 [of the constitution] a person at the helm of the interior or the defence ministry should have been a civilian for at least three years before being appointed at the post," the Social Democrats said in a press statement.

The ruling party however expressed optimism that a deal on the caretaker cabinet could still be reached before January 3, and asked the opposition to propose another candidate.

So far the right-wing VMRO PDMNE party has not directly commented on the constitutional conflict.

The party has insisted however that it has proposed a proven professional for the post of caretaker interior minister.

"I will not delve into constitutional interpretations. We have filed our proposal. What we ask for is matters [regarding the new cabinet...

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