Macedonia's PM Gruevski Vows to Stay in Power
A rally in support of embattled Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski started in Skopje on Monday evening – a day after a protest march organized by the opoposition nearby demanded his resignation.
Standing alongside Gruevski on a platform in front of Parliament building were former Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska and the Director of the Administration for Security and Counterintelligence (UBK) Saso Mijalkov. They resigned last week following the shooting in Kumanovo on 9-10 May, which claimed the lives of eight police officers.
Hundreds of buses arrived in Skopje from all over Macedonia earlier on Monday, carrying participants in the pro-government rally. The estimated turnout at the pro-Gruevski rally, organised by his VMRO-DPMNE party under the motto “Macedonia is strong”, was 30,000, according to AFP.
The organisers of Monday's rally claim that Macedonia is facing ''a directed attack aiming at destabilization'' of the country.
More than 20,000 opposition protestors marched through Skopje on Sunday and gathered in front of the government building to demand that Gruevski resign, accusing him of corruption, mass wiretapping and stirring ethnic tensions to hang onto power.
"Macedonia has been under intense attacks over the past months. Our reaction has not been what you would have expected but enough is enough. We’ll not keep silent any more,” Gruevski told his supporters.
He accused opposition Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev of playing into the hands of unnamed foreign spy agencies by publishing video recordings purportedly showing widespread illegal wiretapping of journalists, judges and popliticians by the government as well a cover-up of a murder of a young man by police.
Defiant Gruev said he would not resign.
“We shall not surrender… We are winning… We shall not allow strife to take place… Zaev shall never be a premier of this country,” Gruevski said.
Zaev and Gruevski are set to meet with EU officials in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday in a fresh bid to find a way for resolving the political crisis.
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