Analysts comment North Macedonia prime minister’s resignation: Political crisis imminent


The news of the resignation of the prime minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, both from the government and from the helm of his SDSM political party has been broadcasted by the most influential international news agencies and media around the world.

Zaev yesterday evening, just a few hours after the runoff local elections in North Macedonia, which brought a clear defeat of SDSM, said he will resign, but will stay at the position long enough to enable a painful transition to a new government majority. Zaev also resigned from his post of president of SDSM.

International and Balkan experts, commenting this sudden development, blame the stagnating reforms but also the EU for failing to deliver its promises.

Florian Bieber, Professor in South East European History and Politics and director of the Center for South East European Studies at the University of Graz says that SDSM’s defeat is partly self-inflicted and partly result of EU’s failure to deliver in the EU integration process, due to the open dispute with Bulgaria. Zaev’s decision is both good and bad news, Bieber stresses.


The bad news is that the opposition in North Macedonia is unreconstructed, nationalist and pro-Orban and that there is no obvious successor of Zaev and that she or he might not have the necessary momentum to restart the reforms in the country.


Mirjana Najchevska, a professor at the Institute of Sociological, Political and Juridical Research in Skopje commented on Twitter that the whole government of North Macedonia is actually in resignation after Zaev announced that he resigns.

“With the resignation of the prime minister, according to the Constitution, the whole government is in resignation. The resignation letter is submitted to the parliament, which votes on it. There are several possible outcomes in this instance”, Najchevska wrote.

In a situation like this one, the first solution is for the current government majority coalition to receive a new mandate from the president of North Macedonia, after which the SDSM or its coalition partners can nominate a new mandate.

The second option is to form a new government coalition, with new majority in the parliament, while the third outcome is that any of the coalition in the parliament to start a procedure for dissolving the parliament and calling premature parliamentary elections, professor Najchevska wrote.

But, she notes, the last remaining option is that all the political parties in the parliament agree to form an expert government that will conclude the current government’s term.

Jasmin Mujanović, politicist from Sarajevo also commented on Twitter, saying the resignation of Zaev marks an end of a short era of political progress in the Western Balkans.

Carl Bildt, the former Swedish diplomat who is a specialist for the Balkans commented that Zaev’s resignation is the least desirable development at the moment in terms of EU’ s enlargement in the Balkans.

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