Skopje, Macedonia | Tirana Echo – The European Union and NATO have told the President of Macedonia to reflect and reverse his decision to block a social-democratic government or risk turning the country into the center of a geopolitical conflict.
High Representative of the European Union Federica Mogherini delivered a stern message during her visit to Skopje on behalf of the EU and NATO, urging Macedonian leaders to get their act together and move forward.
Mogherini spoke in Skopje after having consulted with EU colleagues and also with the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, conveying a joint EU-NATO message to Macedonia.
“I believe that it would be impossible for anyone, to convince anyone in the democratic world that the majority of members of Parliament, who represent the majority of citizens in a unitary state, cannot be allowed to form a government – and that instead of democratic rules, chaos prevails today”, said Mogherini, adding that the latest decision by President Ivanov to refuse a governing mandate to SDSM chair Zoran Zaev breaks the spirit of democracy and is inconsistent with basic democratic principles and also with the Euro-Atlantic integration.
Mogherini asked President Ivanov to “reflect on the way forward, to reverse his decision in the interest of all citizens of this country… and we expect this Constitution to be respected” while quoting the Constitution of the small Balkan country says, which entrusts the governing mandate to a candidate belonging to the party which has the majority in the Assembly.
The EU has been gravely concerned since last year’s elections did not produce a clear winner and pushed Macedonia towards a spiral of institutional deadlocks between the two main political parties VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM.
Fears have been expressed by many in Brussels and in the region that the political conflict between two major ‘slav’ parties may turn into an inter-ethnic conflict between Slavs and Albanians which are the two main groups of Macedonia.
“All political leaders and all those who have institutional responsibilities have the duty to contain and scale down the rhetoric, avoid that this political and institutional crisis becomes an inter-ethnic conflict, or even worse a geopolitical conflict. This is a complex country in a complex region and in really complex times. We do not need fuel, because we have quite some fire already. So I really hope that everybody will exercise the maximum of responsibility and avoid any rhetoric that can fuel clashes or confrontation in the society” – appealed the EU top diplomat in the hope that her visit would calmthe aggravated situation.
However, President Ivanov, a close ally of former PM Gruevski, based his decision to block a Zaev led government on the grounds that “the acceptance of the wider use of Albanian language as an externally imposed platform would be a criminal act and the Constitution and my own conscience do not allow me to give the mandate to Zaev”.
The decision has prompted political representatives in neighboring Albania to react and remind their Macedonian counterparts that ‘without Albanians there is no Macedonia”.
The opposition SDSM leader Zoran Zaev has called Ivanov’s decision an attempted ‘coup d’état’.
“Ivanov has performed a coup. He has pushed Macedonia into a constitutional and national crisis by denying the will of the majority of citizens and by preventing a legal and legitimate transfer of power,” Zaev said.
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