North Macedonia’s Parliament Elects New Right-Wing Government


(RFE/RL) — North Macedonia’s parliament on June 23 approved a new coalition government led by Hristijan Mickoski’s right-wing nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party.

A total 77 lawmakers in the 120-seat parliament voted in favor of the new government; 22 voted against. The remaining 21 lawmakers were absent during the balloting.

Including the 46-year-old Mickoski as prime minister, there will be 24 ministers in the government, five of whom will be deputy prime ministers.

Sixteen of the cabinet members are from the VMRO-DPMNE-led coalition Your Macedonia, six from the coalition Vredi block of Albanian opposition parties, and two from the political party Znam.

Mickoski’s VMRO-DPMNE received 43 percent of the vote on May 9, winning 58 seats — three short of a governing majority — and driving out the Social Democrats (SDSM) after seven years in power.

Mickoski then struck a deal to form a government with the ethnic Albanian parties and the left-wing nationalist Znam party, which together have 20 seats. 

In his closing remarks before the vote, Mickoski told the parliament that the citizens of North Macedonia “are fed up with bickering” and “need work, dedication, accountability, and concrete projects.”

He pledged to raise standards in the first 100 days and announced tax cuts, an increase in pensions, a 250 million euro ($267 million) project for municipalities, new foreign investments, and front against corruption.

After the government was elected, Mickoski and his cabinet made a statement in which the leader of VMRO-DPMNE used the constitutional name Republic of North Macedonia.

Referring to the word North as a “shameful adjective,” he said he would “do everything I can as long as I live to right this injustice,” but added that he is “powerless at this point” and must “capitulate…and say it.”

Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, the president of North Macedonia, angered opposition leaders when she refused to use the country’s full official name at her inauguration on May 12.

Mickoski in his speech referred to the negotiating framework with the EU and the need for constitutional amendments to continue the accession process.

Mickoski, a former professor, has pledged to continue his efforts to shepherd North Macedonia into the European Union, but VMRO-DPMNE’s questioning of key agreements with neighboring Bulgaria and Greece — both which can block North Macedonia’s accession — could affect North Macedonia’s chances.

Defending the composition and program of the new government, deputies in the ruling majority described the vote as “huge” and “historic.”

The opposition in turn criticized the new government, saying its platform is far from the promises made by VMRO-DPMNE during the election campaign. SDSM deputies criticized it as manipulative and expressed doubts that the promised projects would come to fruition.

The new government’s first working day will be June 24 when the new prime minister and ministers are expected to take office. Mickoski announced a “furious start to projects,” including the promotion of new investments.


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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