Party Leaders Reach Agreement to End Political Crisis in Macedonia

Southeast Europe | July 15, 2015, Wednesday // 09:45|  views

Macedonian Prime Minister and leader of the VMRO-DPMNE conservative party Nikola Gruevski talks to the media in the government building, after the talks with the most relevant party leaders in Macedonia mediated by the European Neighborhood Policy & Enlar

Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski announced on Wednesday that an agreement has been reached between the leaders of the four main parties to bring to an end the political crisis, which has gripped the country in the last several months.

This comes following the constructive negotiations on Tuesday and Wednesday between the leaders of the four main parties, which were mediated by European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Johannes Hahn.

The latest round of talks were convened by Hahn and facilitated by MEPs Ivo Vaigl, Richard Howitt and Eduard Kukan together with the EU and US ambassadors to Macedonia.

The participants in the negotiations were the leaders of the four largest parties - VMRO-DPMNE, SDSM, DUI and DPA, respectively PM Gruevski, Zoran Zaev, Ali Ahmeti and Menduh Thaci.

The agreement builds on the June 2 accord and foresees the return of the largest opposition SDSM party to parliament on September 1 and the organisation of the new government preparing the early elections, which will be held on 24 April 2016.

Among the agreed measures is also the appointment of a special prosecutor, who will be tasked with investigating the issues surrounding or arising from the wiretapped conversations.

Commissioner Hahn and the three MEPs also welcomed the strong commitment of the four political leaders to European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

According to the EU officials, this represented an important step in overcoming the current crisis and addressing the key challenges facing the country.

The EU called on political leaders to promptly implement the agreement and expressed readiness to work closely with all parties to ensure the full implementation of the commitments, including the Commission's urgent reform recommendations on systemic rule of law issues.

The European Commission and the MEPs will closely monitor the implementation of the agreements in the next months and progress will be discussed at a meeting of the High Level Accession Dialogue, which will be held in September with the participation of all signatory parties and civil society.

According to the agreement, a hundred days prior to the early parliamentary elections, the incumbent government will resign and a new prime minister will be appointed by the ruling VMRO-DPMNE party.

SDSM will nominate interim interior and labour and social policy ministers, while VMRO-DPMNE will nominate deputies in both ministries.

Furthermore, SDSM will nominate deputy finance, agriculture and information society and administration ministers.

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Tags: macedonia, crisis, agreement, early elections, EU, European Commission, Johannes Hahn, VMRO-DPMNE, SDSM, DUI, DPA, Nikola Gruevski, zoran zaev, Ali Ahmeti, Menduh Thaci, wiretapped conversations


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