The adopted Law on the Use of Languages, which divided the public and raised many dilemmas that caused some of the citizens to take to the streets to protest and show their revolt, must be signed by the President of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov. This position is shared by EU Ambassador Samuel Zbogar and former Parliament Speaker Tito Petkovski.
After meeting with Mayor of Gostivar Arben Taravari, EU Ambassador Samuel Zbogar sent a message that the Law on Languages will improve relations between communities and will bring the country back on the reform agenda, underlining that the EU is an optimist about its implementation. The head of the European Union delegation in Macedonia clarified that interethnic relations in multiethnic societies should be constantly nurtured and grown, thus improving the climate of coexistence.
“I understand that the Law on Languages is important to the Albanians and they see it as the final step that arises from the Ohrid Agreement. The passing of this law to the Albanians is of great importance because they feel more appreciated and accepted in the society and in the country itself,” said Zbogar.
According to the EU Ambassador, when the rights of a non-majority community are improving, it should not bother, or interfere with the rights of the majority community.
“I think the majority community should not feel that, in any way, its rights are jeopardized. I feel that there is such fear in the majority community. We as the EU closely followed the adoption of the Law on Languages and we expect it to be sent to the Venice Commission, as it was stated in Plan 3-6-9. We hope that this law will begin with the implementation and full respect of European standards and European positive practices. Certainly, we expect that the implementation will be respected by all stakeholders in the society and in close dialogue”, underlined Ambassador Zbogar.
The former Speaker of the Assembly, Tito Petkovski, in a statement for “Nezavisen/Independent” reminded the President of the state that he should act responsibly, because he represents all citizens of Macedonia, which is a reason enough to sign the decree on the Law on the Use of Languages.
“I talked to Talat, he wanted to get information that would be useful to him, and I told him what I thought about this situation. So, I think it would be the best thing if Ivanov still signed the decree and realized that it was of state interest, of public interest, and not of interest among political parties, or for the sake of some principles. The President is obliged, I have no dilemma here, and what are the implications if the Constitutional Court does not accept it – that is an entire other issue.
So he must take responsibility, and sit down to grasp the weight of his decision and function – that he is some sort of balance between the Government and the Assembly, and play a vital role. If he refuses to sign the decree, it is, in my opinion, abuse of office, and this is a criminal offense. He may not like this, but also the next five laws, and society and the state cannot suffer because of this. If we look at this from a formal and legal aspect, I have no dilemma that there is a constitutional obligation for the president to sign the decree,” said Petkovski.
Political analyst Kenan Aliu wrote on his social network profile that it will not be the first time if a Speaker of Parliament signs a decree instead of the president of the state. According to Aliu, such a precedent happened in 1997 when the then Speaker of the Parliament, Tito Petkovski, signed a decree on the law on flags instead of the then President Kiro Gligorov, since the country’s first man was on a business trip and was unable to put his signature on the decree. According to the document disclosed by Aliu, this law, along with the decree, was then estimated as unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court and rejected.
Exactly because of the above-mentioned precedent, the Law on the Use of Languages cannot be reversed. The system should work, the law should go to the ‘Official Gazette’ and then there is another issue about how the Constitutional Court will decide, although we can prejudge what the epilogue would be because things are very complicated. In my opinion, that complexity is made in a synchronized way by the actors. Therefore, this is the moment when Macedonia needs a new Constitution. Otherwise, if the president of the state is not sanctioned as a violator of the constitution, then every next president will be able to use the veto (with or without need), while the rights of the Albanians will remain stuck in his pocket,” Aliu wrote.
According to article 82 of the Constitution, only when the president of the state is prevented from performing his / her function of office, until the election of a new leader of the state, the presidential function is carried out by the speaker of the Assembly, and for his/her appointment, the Constitutional Court decides ex officio. Article 75, in turn, indicates that the decree on the proclamation of laws is signed by the President of the Republic and the President of the Assembly.