SDSM leader Zaev to receive mandate to form North Macedonia’s new government on August 13

By bne IntelliNews August 12, 2020

North Macedonia’s President Stevo Pendarovski will give the mandate to Zoran Zaev, leader of the ruling Social Democrats, SDSM, to form a new government on August 13, local media reported.

On August 9 media reported that SDSM, which gained a slim victory in July 15 snap election and the biggest ethnic Albania’s party, the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), were close to reaching an agreement on forming a new government. However, so far the deal between the two parties has not been reached. 

The SDSM won two more seats than the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE (46 versus 44). The DUI has 15 seats in the 120-seat parliament.

Zaev, on behalf of the We can coalition, which won the most seats in the parliament, briefed President Pendarovski about negotiations with several parties to provide the necessary majority in the assembly, broadcaster Telma reported on August 12, citing officials from the president’s cabinet.

However, former parliament speaker Talat Xhaferi from the DUI said that the president cannot give the mandate to anyone until a speaker of the parliament is elected.

“To clarify any legal dilemmas, the president consulted eminent jurists who explained that in order for the assembly to be considered constituted, it needs the verification of the MPs’ mandates, and not the election of the speaker," Telma wrote, citing the cabinet officials.

The SDSM has not confirmed yet whether the necessary majority of 61 MPs has been secured, nor how the negotiations with DUI or other parties are developing.

Media reported that the talks between Zaev and Ahmeti stalled after DUI requested that its candidate Naser Ziberi be PM for at least one year, and then to hand over the position to Zaev, as well as after the DUI's insistence on more government positions as it gained more of seats in the parliament than expected.

For now, talks between the two parties will continue within the legal 20-day deadline, after receiving the mandate, for Zaev to try to secure a majority of at least 61 lawmakers.

On August 12, the SDSM reiterated that Zaev will be the prime minister-designate for the composition of the new government.

“Serious talks are under way to form a stable parliamentary majority and a governing coalition with a full, four-year, stable mandate,” SDSM said in the statement.

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