North Macedonia PM Tests Strength in Sudden Confidence Vote

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on Wednesday unexpectedly asked North Macedonia's parliament to take an immediate vote of confidence in his cabinet after the main opposition right-wing VMRO DPMNE party claimed Zaev's wafer-thin majority in parliament was shaky, and that it could soon muster enough support to topple him.

"This is the moment when we should see how much we can trust the opposition, which claims it will topple the government and form a new majority," Zaev told the parliament, adding: "These fake news and blockades are creating political uncertainty. I will not allow that."

The confidence vote took place almost immediately, as parliament speaker Talat Xhaferi said all 62 MPs from the ruling majority were present in the plenary hall.

With opposition MPs not even present, Zaev predictably won his vote with the support of all 62 MPs loyal to his coalition government.

According to the rulebook, if the PM addresses a parliament session in person and asks for a confidence vote, the MPs may take a vote at the same session, and without the usual debate. The rulebook also states that in this case they cannot deliberate on the voting for longer than three days - meaning they had the vote by Saturday at the latest.

As Zaev's cabinet survived the vote, according to the rulebook, it may not raise the same issue again in parliament for the next three months.

Since the start of the year, VMRO DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski has been hinting that Zaev's government will soon fall and that they can garther enough support for a new majority, led by them.

The opposition has also used the fact that the government rests on a thin majority to effectively block parliament's work, by being absent from key sessions, disabling the...

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