Macedonian government, Skopje - © Chris_Hall/Shutterstock

Macedonian government, Skopje - © Chris_Hall/Shutterstock

In North Macedonia, the composition of the government has changed again. Social Democrat Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski's goal is to bring home the constitutional reforms necessary to revive the race for the EU by the next elections in 2024

24/03/2023 -  Aleksandar Samardjiev Tetovo

The government led by SDSM and DUI in North Macedonia changed its composition at the end of February 2023 after the opposition party Alliance for Albanians became part of the executive power. The new government ally will manage the ministries of Justice, Health, and Information Society and Administration, and also received two deputy ministerial positions. The Alternative Party, on the other hand, left the government coalition, joined just one year ago in January 2022.

Opening the procedure for constitutional amendments as part of the “French proposal” and the inclusion of the Bulgarians into the Constitution will be the main effort of the “new” government. This is how local analysts comment on the ruling SDSM and prime minister Kovacevski's decision.

An impossible challenge?

The main dilemma, however, is whether the government’s priorities can be achieved before the next elections in 2024, since the government lacks the necessary 2/3 majority or 81 out of 120 MPs necessary to push for constitutional changes. The main opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE, already stated very clearly that it will not support changing the Constitution and asks for extraordinary elections.

SDSM offered quick elections after changing the Constitution, a model of a broad government or unification towards some common European platform. But none of that is acceptable for the time being for VMRO-DPMNE.

“As for the constitutional amendments, it is very important to emphasise that this request is not from the Good Neighbour Agreement with Bulgaria (from 2017) but newly added, and VMRO-DPMNE was excluded from the negotiations that included this request (the so-called Bulgarian/French proposal), although we asked to be part of the working group for these processes”, said Stefan Andonovski from the opposition to the local media. “Kovacevski's government, in this way, is taking on obligations that it cannot fulfill, for which it did not receive a mandate in the elections and which are a lie to both the domestic public and the international supporters of the country".

Although the local media raise the question of whether SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE are discussing support for constitutional amendments and how much they are tied to the option of early parliamentary elections, there are no concrete answers from the ruling party.

“Our focus is on the realisation of these policies, on all obligations related to the implementation of what was agreed with the EU, reforms and crisis management. Everything that depends on SDSM and the government, we will do by the elections in 2024”, Stefan Bogoev from the SDSM told local journalists. “First there will be presidential and then parliamentary elections. The concept of higher salaries, pensions and European integration led by SDSM will win”.

On issues such as better relations with Bulgaria and unblocking the veto on EU entry, VMRO-DPMNE say that this will be possible when there is an equal basis of communication with the neighbouring country.

DUI internal issues

But in order for the government to survive, Kovacevski also has a problem with the ordinary majority in the Parliament. The reconstruction in the government, in fact, is increasingly said to have been done because of the division in the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI).

Since September 2022, the so called “Fire Group” – an informal structure which gathers some major political figures in the party that did not receive higher positions in the government – has called for structural reforms in the party, with allegations that the current party officials do not work for the benefit of the citizens but only for themselves. "Fire group", to the leadership of the party, demanded for the "war" in the party to stop, and that certain officials from the government take responsibility and also be replaced.

Although the party made certain changes in October and gave seats to the "Fire Group" in the governing party bodies, the discontent does not stop, so the votes of several MPs are uncertain. This group holds party forums in order to show that the membership is with them. But this kind of activities are also done by the leadership of the party through president Ali Ahmeti and the party officials who are ministers in the government.

Ever-changing governments

After the early elections in 2020, almost every year there is a change in the composition of the government. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that he would step down if he lost the local elections in October 2021. And he did, giving way to Dimitar Kovacevski to form the government in January 2021. Due to the current political developments, Kovacevski also had to make changes.

The main challenge is the first intergovernmental conference with the EU and getting the date for the start of the EU membership negotiations. For that, the Constitution should be changed to enshrine the rights of Bulgarians in the country, after which Bulgaria is expected to give its consent for the beginning of the negotiations for the accession of the Republic of North Macedonia to the EU.

I commenti, nel limite del possibile, vengono vagliati dal nostro staff prima di essere resi pubblici. Il tempo necessario per questa operazione può essere variabile. Vai alla nostra policy

blog comments powered by