North Macedonia’s Constitutional Change Commission Faces Opposition Resistance

As the North Macedonian parliamentary commission starts work this week on drafting important but controversial change designed to satisfy neighbouring Bulgaria, opposition parties have cried foul, insisting that the experts nominated in it lack credibility, as they are close to the ruling parties.

"There is a strong impression that these persons are probably experts on everything but the constitution and constitutional law," Marija Miteva, a spokesperson for the main opposition VMRO DPMNE party, said on Monday.

She accused the experts who will be part in the body of either "gravitating towards" the junior ruling Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, or the main ruling Social Democrats.

"The work of the commission is just a theatre," the small opposition Socialist Party of Macedonia, SPM, agreed over the weekend, alleging that it will serve only as cover for draft changes dictated by the Social Democrat-led government.

Almost all parliamentary opposition parties have refused to delegate experts to the commission instigated by the Justice Ministry. The government went along with its formation regardless, insisting it is of key importance.

Some members of the commission admitted over the weekend that the lack of opposition representatives will be a handicap, as it will mean there is no broad inter-party consensus on the proposed drafts.

Its nominated head, Aleksandar Novakovski told TV 24 that he would be open about their work.

The commission will have some months to draft amendments to the constitutional preamble so that, along other peoples, Bulgarians are also listed as founders of the state.

The change is part of an EU-mediated deal from last summer aimed at ending the dealock with Bulgaria on the so-called...

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