Macedonian president refuses to give mandate to Zaev

Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov on Wednesday announced he would not give opposition SDSM leader Zoran Zaev a mandate to put together a new government.

Source: B92, Tanjug

"Neither my conscience nor the Constitution allow me to do that," Ivanov said.

Zaev previously said that he reached an agreement with the country's ethnic Albanian parties to form a ruling coalition - a move criticized by former prime minister, now VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski.

Ivanov said Zaev would not get the mandate as long as he insists on implementing the Tirana Platform "which a group of parties that represent ethnic Albanians put together in meetings with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama."

Ivanov said today he was "surprised by the Albanian parties' platform that goes against Macedonia's independence and sovereignty."

According to him, the platform was prepared "in another country, and with the mediation of another state."

"The content of the platform contravenes the Constitution of Macedonia," the president said.

The unity of the Macedonian state would be lost by accepting the platform, while its future would be under a question mark, Ivanov said.

He then warned that "accepting foreign platforms" is an act punishable by law.

The Macedonian president also "expects the international community to condemn this platform, as it interferes in Macedonia's internal affairs."

Ivanov's decision came despite the pressure from the international community, a day before EU foreign policy chief was to arrive in Skopje, and despite Zaev having collected 67 signatures from members of the Macedonian Assembly - six more than necessary.

Zaev reacted to this by saying Ivanov had carried out "a coup," and urged him to reconsider his decision.

"Ivanov is pushing Macedonia further in a deepening crisis with unimaginable consequences for the citizens and the country. He is creating a constitutional and state crisis by denying the will of the majority of citizens, cemented with 67 signatures of elected members of the parliament of Macedonia, and is hindering a legal and legitimate transfer of power to take place," Zaev said, calling on "citizens" to "refrain from succumbing to provocation, regardless of their national, religious and political background."

EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn reacted by posting on Twitter, in three messages that read:

"On latest developments in Form. Yugoslav Rep. of Macedonia: 'All leaders, incl. the President, must respect outcome of recent elections'; In a democracy, one must acknowledge parliamentary majorities, even if one doesn't like them; I therefore expect all political leaders and institutions to let the democratic process run its course, in the interest of the citizens."


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