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EU foreign policy chief urges Macedonian president to allow SDSM leader form govt

EU foreign policy chief urges Macedonian president to allow SDSM leader form govt European External Action Service/All rights reserved.

SKOPJE (Macedonia), March 3 (SeeNews) - EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has said she asked Macedonia's president Gjorge Ivanov to reverse his decision to refuse to give a mandate for the forming a new government to Social Democratic party leader Zoran Zaev.

Mogherini urged the president to act in conformity with the country's constitution which says the head of state should entrust the mandate to a candidate belonging to the party which has majority in parliament, according to a statement posted on the website of the European Union's diplomatic service, EEAS, late on Thursday.

Mogherini visited Skopje on Thursday as part of her Western Balkans tour.

On Wednesday, Macedonia's president Gjorge Ivanov refused to award the mandate for forming Macedonia's next government to the leader of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) Zoran Zaev, citing concerns that SDSM's agreement with ethnic Albanian parties to make a government coalition threatens the country's sovereignty. Zaev, whose party came in second in the December early election, secured a parliamentary majority to form a government after reaching an agreement with the ethnic Albanian parties on key issues regarding the governance of Macedonia, including the use of the Albanian language. The deal came after the election winners, conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, failed to agree with ethnic Albanian party DUI on forging a government coalition. 

"The country is not exposed to external threats but to some serious internal problems and it is up to the leaders of this country to take responsibility and to bring the country out of this," Mogherini said, according to the statement. 

The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy called upon Macedonian political leaders to remain calm and to not incite unrest. "[...] all political leaders and all those who have institutional responsibilities have the duty to contain and scale down the rhetoric, avoid that this political and institutional crisis becomes an inter-ethnic conflict, or even worse a geopolitical conflict," she said. 

"I believe that it would be impossible for anyone, to convince anyone in the democratic world that the majority of members of Parliament, who represent the majority of citizens in a unitary state, cannot be allowed to form a government – and that instead of democratic rules, chaos prevails today," Federica Mogherini said in the statement, conveying a message on behalf of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with whom she discussed the situation in Macedonia on Thursday morning prior to her Skopje visit.

Mogherini met with all the political leaders in the Macedonian parliament as well as representatives of civil society organisations.

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