Quarrels will end when the campaign starts

Quarrels will end when the campaign starts
While North Macedonia’s Members of Parliament are preparing for a break during the presidential election campaign, outgoing President Gjorge Ivanov keeps them busy and creates doubts on how to solve the issue of laws he sends back to Parliament without his signature. One of the options is that those laws should be put back for re-voting within 30 days, which would mean by the end of March, that is before the start of the presidential campaign. But since there is no guarantee that the president will put his signature on them, that is, he will use an "absolute veto", it the possibility to wait for the next president to finish the job remains open, immediately after the expiration of Ivanov’ term on May 12, so that there will be enough time for the June EU summit, where Macedonia expects a date for starting the accession negotiations. Of course, the possibility for the laws to be published in the "Official Gazette" without the president’s signature is still open, after such a precedent was set with the laws on the use of languages and the ratification of the Prespa Agreement.

However, these are only options that are being considered among the Members of Parliament while waiting for Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi to return from his trip to Romania and Lithuania, where he attended the ratification of North Macedonia's NATO Accession Protocol. The three reform laws in the judicial field: courts, administrative disputes and misdemeanors, which were adopted by consensus, seem to be a special problem, and the two-thirds majority should be a "shield" of a possible presidential "veto" for them. But in the absence of Xhaferi and the silence of the President’s Cabinet, there is no official information whether Ivanov sent these three laws back to Parliament as well, and whether they were signed, or there are still in his office, although the deadline for this obligation is up.

Without the president’s signature, as a condition for publishing the laws in the "Official Gazette" and their entry into force, Ivanov's veto also means a blockade of the Government, which is the proposer of most of the unsigned laws whose implementation is now disabled.

- The Government expects that the reform laws passed in Parliament, and which are important for the country's EU integration, meet the deadlines, despite the fact that President Ivanov has not signed the decrees for their proclamation, Government Spokesman Mile Bosnjakovski said yesterday.

He said the government expects to meet the deadlines set in order to get a date for negotiations, as it is a key package of reform laws.

- We also expect that President Ivanov will respect the Constitution and will work for the progress of our country towards the Euro-Atlantic integration, said Bosnjakovski.

He added that everyone is obliged to respect the Constitution of the country, including President Ivanov.

"We must not allow citizens to be held hostage to President Ivanov's unconstitutional policy," Bosnjakovski said.

In the explanations that Ivanov sent to Parliament along with the returned laws, the new name of the country is not indicated as a direct reason for his veto. It is only said that he did not sign the decrees because in the performance of his office he always acted in accordance with the given solemn declaration that he will protect the Constitution and, as he says, will defend the interests of the Republic of Macedonia.

It is planned for the Parliament to complete all necessary obligations by the end of this month. However, the Parliament points out that it is not a matter of legal obligation, but an established practice, so that the parliamentary pulpit is not abused for political marketing during the presidential elections. From that aspect, it is not excluded and in parallel with the campaign to have certain activities in the legislature, in case there is a need for it, especially considering that these are presidential elections, not parliamentary elections. The start of the campaign will in fact mean "freezing" of Ivanov's authorities as outgoing president. He is obliged to hold office one week after the end of the second and decisive round of his successor’s election.

North Macedonia’s Accession Protocol ratified in Bucharest

The Romanian Parliament ratified North Macedonia’s NATO Accession Protocol at today's plenary session. North Macedonia's Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi attended the ratification in Bucharest and addressed the Romanian MPs.

“Today, Romania has once again demonstrated its commitment, friendship and support to North Macedonia for its Euro-Atlantic path, enabling the development of a common future. Allow me to extend sincere gratitude on my behalf, on behalf of the MPs in North Macedonia’s Parliament, and on behalf of the citizens, we are honoured to have you as our friends and partners,” Speaker Xhaferi said.

Romania is the seventh NATO member state to ratify North Macedonia’s NATO Accession Protocol. Greece was the first one, followed by Slovenia, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Montenegro.

The Protocol is to be ratified in Lithuania’s Parliament on Thursday. After Bucharest, Xhaferi is heading for Vilnius, where he will address the Lithuanian MPs.

On February 6, NATO member states signed the Accession Protocol of North Macedonia to the Alliance. After its ratification in the parliaments of the 27 NATO member states and the governments of Great Britain and Canada, North Macedonia will become a full-fledged member state of NATO.