North Macedonia’s Opposition Gamble Plays Into Zaev’s Hand
This plot twist overshadowed the troubles within the ruling Social Democrats, where they were struggling to come up with viable replacement for the outgoing PM and party leader, Zaev, and keep the party afloat after its setback in the municipal elections.
The opposition upped the stakes by giving Zaev an ultimatum to submit his resignation by November 8, or they would file a motion for a no-confidence vote. He did not, so they acted.
In the days leading up to the session, the opposition built up an atmosphere of triumph, with talk of how they would soon end "the criminal regime of Zaev," but not much about what would happen if his government was ousted. Maybe new elections, maybe a new majority government.
At their end, the Social Democrats stayed relatively quiet, bar the odd press release attacking their opponents' stance on the EU, NATO or the agreement they brokered with Greece that halted a 27-year-long dispute over the name of the country.
Unsurprisingly, tensions spilled over on social networks, with ugly exchanges and threats of revenge between supporters of both sides.
The start of the day the opposition had dubbed D-day showed that their move was ill-calculated.
One MP, Kastriot Rexhepi, who had signed the motion calling for a vote on the government, was nowhere to be found. After frantic calls and visits by party colleagues to his home proved fruitless, he was declared kidnapped.
Rexhepi then posted on Facebook that he had changed his mind and would not attend the session.
BESA MP, Kastriot Rexhepi, who had signed the motion calling for a vote on the government, was nowhere to be found on Thursday. Photo: BESA
The rest of the day passed amid allegations that the missing MP was...