Talat Xhaferi, Speaker of North Macedonia’s parliament, scheduled a vote of no-confidence of the government of former Prime Minister Zoran Zaev for Thursday (Nov. 11) at 11 am. Zaev, who came to power in 2017, announced his resignation on October 30, just hours after his center-left Social Democratic Union (SDSM) party suffered defeat in mayoral elections in towns including the capital Skopje.
The tiny country’s main opposition right-wing Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) on Monday (Nov. 8) filed a no-confidence motion against the 47-year-old Zaev.
The MP and VMRO DPMNE vice-president Aleksandar Nikoloski said that 61 out of 120 MPs signed the motion, after the small ethnic Albanian “Besa” party with its three lawmakers left the ruling coalition.
“The government led by the Social Democrats and the DUI [the junior ruling Democratic Union for Integration], did not score significant results in the previous five years, but on the contrary, rules by fraud and bargaining, at the expense of the most important issues for the people,” the explanatory notice behind the no-confidence motion reads.
“Instead of preserving the dignity of the state and its citizens, they are sinking the people deeper and deeper into poverty, into rising inflation and scandals that are multiplying on a daily basis,” it added.
DUI is the biggest Albanian party in Zaev’s coalition.
If the no-confidence motion passes on Thursday, President Stevo Pendarovski will have to appoint another politician who can command a majority in parliament to form a new government. Observers believe it is possible that neither opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski of the VMRO-DPMNE party nor the Social Democrats will succeed. This would then result in new elections.
The next parliamentary election is not officially due until 2024. Zaev is against having an early election.He wrote on his Facebook profile that the opposition “is ready to lead the country downhill and make the people suffer because of the empty desire for power.”
Coalition blocks no confidence vote
The ruling coalition blocked the parliament’s vote on the motion of no confidence in the government.
Just 60 MPs attended the vote on Thursday, one short of the quorum needed to hold the vote, after an MP from the Besa party failed to show up, stating on Facebook that he had changed his mind. The opposition now has until midnight to try to reach the quorum, or the session will be postponed.
After MP Kastriot Rexhepi’s no-show in parliament, the spokesperson for his Besa party, Arianit Hoxha, accused the ruling parties of using “threats, blackmails and other forms of influence” to foil the vote, Balkan Insight reported.
The head of the small Levica party, Dimitar Apasiev, also part of the opposition bloc, accused the government of “kidnapping” Rexhepi. The ruling parties denied this, calling this misinformation.
Rexhepi posted a video on Facebook, saying he is safe and healthy. But political uncertainty remains in North Macedonia.
With reporting by Reuters, Euractiv, Balkan Insight, AP, DPA, Euronews, Balkan Insight