British Shadow Foreign Secretary, Hilary Benn, yesterday demanded an explanation from the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth what assessment he has made of implications for democracy and the rule of law in Macedonia, after the recent presidential pardon for politicians in the country.

State Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Philip Hammond, referred to the statement made by the Minister for Europe, David Lidington, expressing deep concern.

“As the Minister for Europe, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) made clear in a public statement on 14 April, we are deeply concerned by President Ivanov’s decision to pardon those individuals currently under investigation in Macedonia over allegations of abuse of power. The decision protects those officials and former Ministers accused of corruption and denies justice to the people of Macedonia. Functioning rule of law means that all people must be held legally accountable for their actions and allegations fully investigated”, said Hammond.

He also said that together with international partners they have urged President Ivanov to reverse his decision and expressed great concern about the credibility of the forthcoming elections, and the level of commitment to the democratic process with former Prime Minister and leader of the governing party VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski.