North gets a second vote ‘in favor’

North gets a second vote ‘in favor’
It took only 27 minutes for the parliamentary majority to hold the 54th session, the only topic being the ratification of the name agreement with Greece. With 69 votes in favor, one abstained, and none against, the Parliament again endorsed the deal after it was first adopted 16 days ago, but President Gjorge Ivanov returned it without signing it. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev yesterday urged Ivanov to put his signature on the law, while the opposition, which boycotted the parliamentary session, encouraged him not to do so, threatening with criminal charges and prison sentences if the agreement came into force without a signature from the president of the state.

While the parliamentary group of VMRO-DPMNE before the parliamentary door at 11 am explained why it would not enter the parliament building, the majority was already counting votes. Almost everyone was there, SDSM, DUI led by Ali Ahmeti, DPA with Menduh Thaci, the two Besa wings, Amdi Bajram... Zijadin Sela was the only one missing, who explained in writing that he would be absent even though he did not appear in the Criminal Court at the pronouncement of the verdict against his attackers. After counting (69 attendees), Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov asked to speak before the MPs.

"The final agreement, not only that it does not jeopardize the Macedonian identity, but also reaffirms it and strengthens it as never before. In practice, the agreement will bring the establishment of identity and will overcome the eternal struggle for language, identity, we will join the EU, Macedonian documents will be printed with Macedonian translation," said Dimitrov.

He pointed out that identity is not defended by antiquisation, and the constitution does not defend itself with its violation, alluding to Ivanov’s refusal to sign the Law on the grounds that international agreements on behalf of the state are signed only by the president. Dimitrov cited in which cases the government should do so, pointing out that the issues of the economy, finance, science, culture, education, sports, traffic, urbanism, water economy... are regulated by the agreement with Greece, which is why the government is a legal signatory. He stated that since independence, Parliament ratified a total of 897 international treaties, and only five of them were signed by the president of the country: the friendship treaty with Turkey (1995), a declaration of friendship with Turkey (1998), a friendship agreement with Ukraine 1999), an agreement on the state border with the SCG (2001) and a friendship agreement with Romania in 2002. According to Dimitrov, Ivanov's remark that the agreement is spreading fear and brings Macedonia in a state of submission to Greece is incorrect.

"It is completely legally unsustainable, because the Republic of Macedonia has undertaken an obligation to become a member of the UN and to sign the 1995 Interim Accord. The agreement with Greece opens doors for EU and NATO membership, and it only confirms our independence and our state. With the negotiations so far, Macedonia was in a state of dependence. The agreement draws us from that dependence and brings us in conditions of independence. It is time to find the interests of the homeland, and we must all be united for the interests of the country, not for personal or party interests," concluded the head of diplomacy.

In a state of opposition boycott, the role of being a critic of the agreement was played by Professor Ferid Muhic, MP from the ruling coalition, who said that he was honored to be part of a coalition that accepts different opinions.

"Unanimity is bad, everyone should vote according to their conscience. I want to introduce everyone to my personal opinion. We constantly emphasize the benefits that we will receive if we accept the agreement. But there is no such thing as a free lunch. The change of the name is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations, so far nobody asked anyone to change the name of the state and the constitution. This must be noticed, the voice of this people must be heard and the world must know what this government and this state have compelled. The agreement creates the wrong impression that we have stolen something that was not ours, that we are caught stealing and that we are returning it to the real owner with repentance and he is ready to forgive us," Muhic stressed.

Citing German Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement that "national dignity cannot be subject to any compromise", the MP said he would vote ‘abstained’.

No one asked for address the present MPs after him, the session continued to voting, the agreement was ratified, and the MPs, without any euphoria, unlike two weeks ago when they embraced and congratulated each other, left. Only Artan Grubi insisted on recording Ahmeti with his mobile phone, while he repeatedly said: "Urime, urime", that is, "Congratulations, congratulations".

Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi announced a few days ago that after the revote, the Law will be sent to the Official Gazette, even with only his signature, as he will do with the Law on Languages, which Ivanov has not yet signed.

The agreement with Greece was signed on June 17 in Psarades (Nivitsi), on the Greek side of the Prespa Lake. Under the agreement, the official name of the state will be the Republic of North Macedonia or North Macedonia (abbreviated name).

The agreement recognizes: Macedonian language, part of a group of South Slavic languages, while for citizenship is foreseen: Macedonian / citizen of the Republic of North Macedonia. The implementation of the agreement will take place in stages. It will be put into force after the parties accept it in accordance with internal procedures, but if either party does not accept the agreement, this will mean that it is rejected. The final say for the agreement will be given to Macedonian citizens at a referendum announced for late September.

VMRO-DPMNE: Justice is slow, but it will come

VMRO-DPMNE, whose parliamentary group did not participate in the ratification of the name agreement with Greece, reiterated once again that the government reached the agreement with Greece through an unlawful procedure and with gross violations of the legal regulations, which in its essence is unconstitutional in contradiction with state and national interests.

"By resorting to gross misuse of the regulations, the abuse of the European flag only for this harmful agreement to be reached, is a clear indication that the government, the parliamentary majority and Prime Minister Zaev are aware of its harmfulness and destructiveness, but nevertheless they want this agreement to be reached.

That is why VMRO-DPMNE will not be an accomplice in the capitulation, in violating the procedures. On the contrary, we strongly oppose all this. VMRO-DPMNE will not be an accomplice and opposes an act that provides for a change of the Constitution in order to change the constitutional name. An act defining the deletion of the word Macedonia, is caught in the essence of the identity and is permanently damaging the state-bearing features of the country and the identity of the Macedonian people. This is not something that can be celebrated. Capitulation everywhere in the world is a shameful act.

At the same time, we expect that this unconstitutional act will not be signed by the President of the country because his first duty is to protect the state interests and to protect the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia," said Secretary General Igor Janusev.

He warns that the publication of this agreement without the signature of the president is a crime that does not become obsolete and demands accountability.

"Such an event will be a continuation of the harsh practice of violating procedures and laws in order to legitimize something that is not lawful. Justice can be slow, but should be aware that there will be accountability for any crime and violation of laws.

The reality, as well as the message from Brussels, is very clear that without real reforms, fighting against crime and corruption, departisation of the judiciary and other structural reforms the country will not move a millimeter towards the EU. This clearly shows that we do not need harmful contracts, but real reforms, which we will never have with SDSM in power," Janusev said.

Zaev: Ivanov needs to sign the law

President Gjorge Ivanov should sign the law ratifying the name agreement, followed by its confirmation at a referendum, said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on Thursday.

PM Zaev said citizens get a chance for the first time after 27 years to decide about Macedonia's future.

"I believe in our people and success of the process that future generations will be proud of," Zaev told reporters.

According to him, the law's second vote in the Parliament will be followed by a referendum, constitutional revision, ratification in the Greek parliament and the agreement's entry into force.

Regarding today's verdicts for the attackers of MP Zijadin Sela during last year's Parliament incidents, Zaev said those who broke the law need to be held responsible, adding "the rule of law should prevail for everyone.

Ademi: The result of the referendum must be respected

Minister without portfolio in charge of diaspora Edmond Ademi says that he supports the holding of a referendum on the name and that the decision to be adopted will have to be respected by all institutions. According to him, the political parties should agree on the referendum, that is, all parties that participate in the political life in Macedonia will decide whether it will be compulsory or consultative.

"However, the decision of the referendum, at the end of the day, will have to be respected by all institutions," Ademi said.

The Minister gave the statement before the Macedonian Opera and Ballet, where the three new projects of the Emigration Agency were promoted: Emigration Manual, Picture book for learning the mother tongue and a website. The Metropolitan of the European Diocese, Bishop Pimen, was also present, who said that his personal stance on whether he accepted the name agreement or not will be stated at a referendum. He expressed hope that the referendum will be held because, as he said, it could be boycotted.

"The agreement itself is far from ideal, but it is not something as disastrous as it is interpreted in some cases. People perceive it as treason. The ultimate instance remains, however, the people, not just politicians, but every single person because he will have the opportunity to declare a referendum 'in favor' or 'against', said Father Pimen.

Asked if the government interfered with the secularity of the state, he clarified that there was always contact between the church and the state because, as he said, “we are still working with the same people, the people who vote and the people who visit the church.”

"One can not talk about strict separation. No one can pull that boundary to where it is. It is normal to have cooperation, and on the other hand to have distance because it is nice to stand for one another, we as a church for the progress of the state and the state to advocate the progress of the church and overcome such key moments as these. There should be cohesion between church and state, not to jeopardize secularity," said Father Pimen.

Goran Adamovski


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