Macedonia's president may backtrack on refusal to ask SDSM to form govt - analyst

Macedonia's president may backtrack on refusal to ask SDSM to form govt - analyst Andreja Stojkovski/Twitter.

SKOPJE (Macedonia), March 10 (SeeNews) - Macedonia's president Gjorge Ivanov is likely to reconsider his decision to refuse to ask the leader of the Social Democratic party to form the country's new government, according to a local political analyst.

A turnaround in Ivanov's position could take place in the next days and lead the country out of the current political stalemate, Andreja Stojkovski, president and senior researcher at the Skopje-based Centre for European Strategies EUROTHINK, told SeeNews in an emailed statement on Friday.

Political tensions heightened in Macedonia after president Gjorge Ivanov announced on March 1 that he would not give the mandate for the formation of government to Zoran Zaev, leadеr of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), despite the proof of parliamentary majority which Zaev had submitted to him. Ivanov explained his decision with concerns that SDSM's agreement with ethnic Albanian parties on the formation of a coalition cabinet would jeopardize the country's sovereignty. Following Ivanov's refusal SDSM leader Zoran Zaev accused the president of violating the constitution and carrying out a 'coup'.

Conservative VMRO-DPMNE party won a narrow victory against SDSM in the December 11 snap vote and was the first to be tasked with forming the new government. However, it failed to agree with ethnic Albanian party DUI on forging a government coalition and called for new elections to be held.

"President Ivanov has been going out of, or away from, the constitutional framework on too many occasions", Stojkovski said. "He first gave the mandate to the candidate from a party that doesn't have a majority in parliament, while in the second run he refused to give the mandate to the candidate from the new majority."

The analyst said that Macedonia's constitution does not give the president the right to choose the next government or set conditions for its formation but only obliges him to award the mandate to the candidate who is backed by a parliamentary majority. 

The current standoff has a negative impact on the country and due to Ivanov's refusal the political crisis has grown into a constitutional one,  Stojkovski opined.

According to Stojkovski, the issue of new parliamentary elections is not on the agenda. The results of the two largest parties in the December vote were very close and new elections would simply replicate them, he said. 

Stojkovski also said that increased pressure from the EU is needed to find a way out of the current political stalemate.

The comment of Stojkovski came after the OSCE secretary general Lamberto Zannier expressed on Thursday his concern about the current situation and urged Macedonian leaders to put end to the protracted political crisis in the interest of all citizens. 

Zannier, who met with the president, the foreign minister, party leaders, and representatives of the international community in Macedonia, believes that the outcome of the EU-brokered elections in December is a solid basis for forming a government. He urged Macedonia's parliament to begin working "in line with democratic principles and in compliance with the rule of law," according to an OSCE press release.

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