Zaev leaves with Unfulfilled Promises of Justice and Good Neighborly Relations
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev is expected to resign in parliament in Skopje today, BGNES reported.
After the catastrophic loss of the local elections on October 31st, Zaev announced that he would resign not only from the leadership post in the ruling Social Democratic Union (SDSM) but also from the post of prime minister. On December 12th, former Deputy Finance Minister Dimitar Kovachevski was elected chairman of the SDSM. He is also expected to be the next mandate holder to form a new government. It will include another Albanian formation, Afrim Gashi's “Alternative”.
Zaev has been the leader of the SDSM since 2013. In 2015, he launched his Truth for Macedonia campaign, in which he spread information about telephone conversations of those in power led by then-Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, exposing severe corruption in Macedonia and interference in the judiciary system. After the early parliamentary elections in December 2016, the country fell into a severe crisis after President Gjorge Ivanov refused for months to hand over a mandate to form a cabinet to Zoran Zaev. On April 27, after the election of Talat Xhaferi, from the DUI party of Ali Ahmeti, as a speaker of parliament, bloody clashes broke out in the Assembly and hundreds of VMRO-DPMNE supporters stormed the building. More than 100 people were injured in the massacre, including Zoran Zaev, who had a bloodied head.
A year later, Gruevski fled the country and escaped effective sentencing. During Zoran Zaev's first cabinet, the country first signed the Treaty of Friendship and Good Neighborliness with Bulgaria on August 1, 2017, and in June 2018 signed the Prespa Agreement with Greece, ending a 25-year dispute. The country changed its name to the Republic of North Macedonia. In early 2019, the RNM became a full member of NATO.
The largest opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE, claims that during Zaev's rule, the country was mired in corruption involving Zoran Zaev's family. VMRO-DPMNE spoke out against the Treaty with Bulgaria, the Prespa Agreement, and the name change.
The future prime minister of RNM, Dimitar Kovachevski, who was practically nominated by Zaev, is expected to seriously change the composition of the cabinet. It is certain that the Minister of Health Venko Filipche, the military minister Radmila Shekerinska and Nikola Dimitrov, who was responsible for European integration will leave the cabinet.
Due to the non-implementation of the Agreement with Bulgaria, the authorities in Sofia did not support the start of negotiations for RNM membership in the EU in December 2020. This position was reaffirmed this year as well. The Bulgarian side announced its positions through the declaration of the National Assembly and the Framework Position in October-November 2019.
The coalition agreement of the new government headed by Kiril Petkov states that Bulgaria retains its current position and will build on the two countries' bilateral relations.
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