D-Day for constitutional changes - Zaev has majority with or without BESA

D-Day for constitutional changes - Zaev has majority with or without BESA
Negotiations between Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and the Besa wing, led by Bilal Kasami, did not make any progress yesterday, but the ruling majority has the necessary 80 votes even without the two Albanian opposition party MPs. This is the latest information that was circulating in the Parliament Hall yesterday afternoon while waiting for the beginning of the session for the final phase of the constitutional changes. The few postponements at the start - scheduled at 1 pm, then twice postponed and eventually rescheduled for today - signaled a tense atmosphere in an attempt to reach an agreement with Kasami.

We secured majority, we are negotiating for 86

"Things are not going well, the prime minister told them that he could not accept their demands and left them to decide for themselves whether they would vote ‘in favour’ of the constitutional changes," read the first unofficial information on the negotiations with Kasami.

During that period the parliamentary cafeteria was crowded with MPs who were having lunch, while waiting for the session to begin. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev was there too, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Dimitrov. They sat at the table together with other lawmakers, as well as with some of the independent MPs. Krsto Mukoski and Saso Vasilevski were sitting at a different table. Lawmakers went in and out of the restaurant, where the ban on smoking was respected.

"The Prime Minister has meetings with MPs from almost all groups all day. He was at a special meeting with the independent MPs, then with the parliamentary group of SDSM and the coalition, other coalition partners etc. At this moment we have secured majority of 80 MPs, even if agreement with Besa is not reached, and we negotiate and hope that in the end we will finalize the process with 86 lawmakers," said one of the officials of the Social Democratic Union.

If it is known with certainty that MP Pance Minov, who actively participated in the preparation of the amendments to the constitutional changes, would change sides from the opposition to the government’s side, it remains unclear which MP from the parliamentary group of VMRO-DPMNE and the coalition "For Better Macedonia" Is negotiating for changing sides?

During that time, the largest opposition party was preparing for the protest that was happening on the boulevard in front of the Parliament building in the center of Skopje. A very small number of people gathered, so the surrounding streets were open for traffic, unlike WednesdayThey were also eagerly awaiting for the start of the parliament session, which also delayed the arrival of the leadership of VMRO-DPMNE headed by President Hristijan Mickoski.

"I know you're feeling tricked and angry. It's their goal, for you to think that everything is done and move on. Keep your heads up, they want it to be the end, but let it be the end of the beginning of their departure. No one can take your dignity. There are many among us with different views, stances and frequent disagreements, but we must put all this aside because we all have one goal. We need mass unification; our love for the homeland is stronger than all hatred.

They are changing the name and identity, and they did it by blackmail, pressures, amnesties etc. And there was also help from the SPO and Vilma Ruskovska. I promise that and VMRO-DPMNE I personally will do everything in our power to prevent this agreement from happening. I will repeat this at each meeting, on every occasion. I cannot promise that I will succeed, but I will do everything to be so. North Macedonia is not my homeland," said Mickoski in his speech, among other things.

Either 80 votes or I will take responsibility

In the absence of official information, there were calculations in political circles, which lawmaker from which party could be a traitor. The authorities calmed down that one of the lawmakers who was absent in times when each vote was crucial – was ill and she would attend the session when the moment of decision came. VMRO-DPMNE emphasized that all of their MPs, including those who are charged by the Special and the Basic Prosecutor's Office, which would make it easier for them to reach an agreement with the government, were convinced that they would respect the party’s stance and would not vote. But that was the case on October 19 as well, when the first phase of the process was finalized, and eight MPs from their coalition changed their minds at the last moment and raised their hands. Later, party exclusion and well-known amnesty processes followed. There will be exclusions now again if someone disrespects the party agreement.

In fact, yesterday there were various suggestions to the VMRO-DPMNE with only one blow, ie by providing the necessary two-thirds majority to solve the animosity with the Albanians, to make peace with the international community and to present itself as a constructive factor. VMRO-DPMNE rated such proposals as frivolous by explaining that there were no playing games with national interests.

The president of the government, meanwhile, said the next morning that the total number of MPs who will support the constitutional amendments will be known at the time of the vote. He expects it to be seen in the voting on the first amendment in the Parliament.

"The responsibility ultimately falls on the MPs, and I believe that they will gather strength to secure two thirds to adopt the amendments, because later the the agreement will be put to vote in the Greek parliament," Zaev said. He said he is ready to take responsibility if the name agreement with Greece is not adopted in the Macedonian parliament.

"Everyone should take responsibility for the process. If there is no majority, then there will a central board of SDSM and taking responsibility. We invested everything we had in this. In politics, one has to take responsibility the same way one takes merit. I have no prejudice, the moment of responsibility is here. Either we will have 80 votes or we will take responsibility," noted Prime Minister Zaev.

Today's session is scheduled for 12 o'clock, at the same time when new protests are scheduled in front of the Parliament building.

Goran Adamovski

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