Yesterday’s parliamentary session began with the confirmation of two MP resignations, and then a pause of several hours. The first resignation was the one of the former prime minister, now a fugitive and asylum seeker in Budapest, Nikola Gruevski, who had absolute power over the country for over a decade, as he was at the helm of VMRO-DPMNE for at least 15 years. Pavle Bogoevski’s resignation was the second one, who became became famous as one of the participants in the Colorful Revolution that began in spring of 2016, and a few months later he was elected as an independent MP from the SDSM list.
The fact that they entered and left the Parliament on the same date is in fact the only parallel that can be drawn between Gruevski and Bogoevski and their political trajectories. Any other similarities cannot be found, even in the resignations they have submitted. Gruevski sent his resignation in writing, certified by a notary in Hungarian, and after a procedure was initiated to revoke his mandate due to a six-month unjustified absence from parliament. Bogoevski resigned for moral reasons, due to a compromising telephone conversation that was released to the public. He came to Parliament yesterday to explain his resignation in person, awhich he announced the day he was to chair the session of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Mandate and Immunity Issues, whose agenda was the proposal to revoke Gruevski’s MP mandate.
Bogoevski told the MPs that by resigning from office he wants to send a message that the values of the Colorful Revolution are still in force. He urged the prosecution authorities to investigate the case with the recording for alleged cannabis procurement for medical purposes, as long as they don’t forget about the case of illegal recording and publication.
– Values have always been, and always will be, above the function. Responsibility should be taken personally, courageously and with a raised head before those who elected you, not cowardly and on the run, hiding behind dictators with similar beliefs – said Bogoevski.
The announcement of Bogoevski’s resignation a few weeks ago influenced the position of the VMRO-DPMNE’s parliamentary group regarding the stripping Gruevski of his MP mandate, despite the initial signals that there was no mood in the opposition camp to vote for stripping the former prime minister’s mandate. To deprive the mandate of an MP requires at least 80 votes, which was uncertain whether they will be provided. Although the former prime minister was registered as unjustifiably absent from Parliament for more than six months, the oopposition party had doubts whether to vote “in favor” of stripping Gruevski of his mandate.
The resignation that Gruevski sent from his new “address”, basically suspended the proposal to revoke his mandate. Although under Article 65 of the Constitution an MP needs to resign in person at a parliamentary session, on yesterday’s coordination with Speaker Talat Xhaferi it was decided to accept Gruevski’s resignation. With that, the long-lived former prime minister and leader of VMRO-DPMNE has formally left the political arena in the country, despite allegations that the ruling parties regularly send to the new leadership of VMRO-DPMNE that their key political moves are now dictated from Budapest.
After confirming the resignation, Gruevski will be able to ask the Parliament for apanage in the amount of the salary he received as a Member of Parliament, which was denied to him only after changes were made to the law on MPs at the beginning of this year. Having been in office for more than two years, he has the right to compensation in the amount of the MP salary for a period of one year. He would be entitled to the same right in case his mandate was stripped. However, Members of Parliament don’t think that the former prime minister will seek apanage, for whose approval the procedure would go through the Commission for Elections and Appointments.
In January this year, the Parliament passed legal amendments with which an MP sentenced to more than six months in prison loses the right to benefits. Gruevski was sentenced to two years in prison in the trial for the “Tank” case, because of which he also fled from justice. The amendments to the Law on MPs were passed with 53 votes in favor, and only Speaker Talat Xhaferi voted “abstain”, saying that he was not convinced of the soundness of the solution proposed by a group of ruling MPs.
After confirming Gruevski’s resignation, Gjoko Kamcev should take his place in Parliament. He is the next on the VMRO-DPMNE candidate list in the fourth election district in the 2016 parliamentary elections. Kamchev was MP in the previous composition of the parliament. In the elections in 2016, he was ranked 11th on the list headed by Gruevski, who, in turn, as a leader of VMRO-DPMNE, ran for the constituency “four” so that he could have a direct confrontation with the leader of SDSM, Zoran Zaev.
Bogoevski’s seat in Parliament will be taken by Aleksandar Filipovski, who is the 17th candidate on the SDSM list in the first constituency, headed by now President Stevo Pendarovski.