Macedonia Opposition Leader Unveils 'Evidence' of Gov't Pressure on Judiciary

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | February 16, 2015, Monday // 15:31
Bulgaria: Macedonia Opposition Leader Unveils 'Evidence' of Gov't Pressure on Judiciary Opposition leader Zoran Zaev gestures during a press conference in Skopje, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, February 09, 2015. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The leader of Macedonia's main opposition party has presented what he describes as a proof that the cabinet interferes with courts, local media suggest.

Zaev, who heads the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), has also been claiming that Gruevski's government is using its powers to eavesdrop on 20 000 people including reporters, religious leaders, and politicians.

He was accused in end-January by police and by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of attempting to stage a coup d'etat together with a foreign intelligence service.

The opposition leader had argued he had obtained evidence of the government's wrongdoing without elaborating.

On Sunday, however, he published excerpts from five recorded conversations in which a Deputy Prime Minister, alongside other government members, are purportedly heard discussing the outcome of key trials and the appointment of judges to senior positions within the judiciary.

A total of five conversations were published at the party's press conference where the leader argued "all socially important people" had been eavesdropped.

Zaev is quoted by Utrinski Vesnik as saying the recordings should convince Macedonians there is a link between the executive and the judiciary.

"You will see how strong is the control Gruevski's people have on the judiciary," he opined.

The Prime Minister, on the other hand, believes Zaev is trying to blackmail him into resigning and triggering early elections, an accusation he denies.

Macedonia's Chief Prosecutor warned media outlets not to disclose information on the case before it was thoroughly investigated.

SDSM, the largest opposition party, have been boycotting parliament since Gruevski's VMRO-DPMNE party won April 2014 general election and formed a coalition government. The Social Democrats allege VMRO-DPMNE’s victory was won through electoral fraud.

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Tags: zoran zaev, SDSM, Nikola Gruevski, VMRO-DPMNE, coup d'etat
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