Greek Ambassador Storms Off: North Macedonia's President Takes Oath Without Mentioning Nation's Full Name

Southeast Europe | May 12, 2024, Sunday // 17:30|  views

The newly inaugurated President of North Macedonia, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, upheld her campaign pledge during the swearing-in ceremony by refraining from using "North" in the country's name. This omission reflects her stance against the 2018 Prespa Treaty with Greece, which altered the country's name to facilitate NATO membership.

"I declare that I will conscientiously and responsibly fulfill the function of president of the Republic of North Macedonia...", read the first words of the oath, the speaker of the parliament Jovan Mitreski, after whom Siljanovska said: "I declare that I will conscientiously and responsibly fulfill the function of president of Macedonia". BTA quoted her as saying that she did not believe that her election would become a fact. "The only person who claimed that this would happen was the chairman of VMRO-DPMNE Hristijan Mickoski", she said.

In her oath before the Parliament in Skopje, Siljanovska-Davkova substituted "North Macedonia" with "Macedonia," echoing her commitment to her pre-election stance. Her decision drew attention from Greece, with the Greek ambassador leaving the parliament hall in protest.

Despite Siljanovska-Davkova's actions, the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), North Macedonia's largest Albanian party, accused her of violating the constitution by using a name contrary to that specified in the Prespa Treaty.

Simultaneously, discussions unfolded among political factions regarding coalition formations. VMRO-DPMNE, the leading party, sought collaboration with Albanian parties to secure a parliamentary majority. However, differing views on constitutional changes stipulated by the Prespa Treaty complicated negotiations.

While VMRO-DPMNE aims for swift cabinet formation, delays could occur, potentially influencing negotiations with Bulgaria concerning constitutional amendments. VLEN, a significant Albanian party, insisted on immediate constitutional changes, which VMRO-DPMNE resisted, suggesting a phased approach.

With its 58 mandates, VMRO-DPMNE only needs one more coalition partner for a majority, and that is traditionally an Albanian party. A third formation in the majority may, but is not necessary, to reach 61 deputies: VLEN has 13 mandates, with 61 needed for a majority in the 120-member parliament. A cabinet must be proposed by the end of June at the latest, although the leader of VMRO-DPMNE Hristijan Mickoski promises to form it in the shortest possible time. If the deadline is delayed, the parliamentary elections in Bulgaria will have already passed; Mickoski has signaled that he will want to see who wins in order to talk with Sofia in search of concessions on the constitutional changes that Skopje has committed to the European Union to start negotiations for EU membership.

VLEN insists that a condition for a coalition is the adoption of the changes to the constitution, which VMRO-DPMNE claims it does not accept in its current form, proposing for example a delayed adoption. At the same time, the Macedonian section of "Free Europe" wrote that Mickoski would like to wait until May 28, the deadline for the constituent session of the parliament, as there were "signals" from individual MPs from another coalition that they might join VMRO-DPMNE and as the aim was support in Parliament amounting to a two-thirds majority.

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Tags: North, macedonia, president, coalition

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