European Western Balkans

New Government of North Macedonia voted in, plans to offer “legal and legitimate” proposals for the issue of constitutional change

New Prime Minister Hristijan Mickoski during the session; Photo: Parliament of North Macedonia

SKOPJE – The Assembly of North Macedonia elected the new government, headed by Hristijan Mickoski, on Sunday evening. The government was formed after the landslide victory of the VMRO-DPMNE party in the May parliamentary election. It secured 77 votes in the parliament, while 22 MPs voted against.

The ruling majority has been formed by VMRO-DPMNE, Vlen coalition representing ethnic Albanian parties and For Our Macedonia (ZNAM) party of the current mayor of Kumanovo Maksim Dimitrievski. It replaces the coalition of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) and the Democratic Union of Integration (DUI).

The new Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is Timčo Mucunski, who was elected as the mayor of Aerodrom Municipality in the capital of Skopje in 2021 as a candidate of VMRO-DPMNE. Orhan Murtezani, a nominee of the Albanian party Alternative, is the new Minister for European Affairs.

Arben Taravari, leader of the Alliance of Albanians, has been appointed as the Minister of Health, while Ivan Stoilkovikj, president of the Democratic Party of Serbs in Macedonia, is the new Minister of Relations between the Communities.

During the parliamentary session, new Prime Minister Hristijan Mickoski referred to the state as “Macedonia”, but he used the country’s constitutional name, Republic of North Macedonia, in his swearing-in oath. He nevertheless described the designation as “shameful”, which was noted by the Greek media.

The program of the new Government stated that its key strategic goal will be full membership in the European Union.

“The Government will remain committed to the European and Euro-Atlantic security framework and full alignment with the EU foreign, security and defence policy”, the program states.

It also states that the Government will strongly advocate devising an appropriate solution for moving the European integration process forward, “without accepting dictates from the third countries”.

A part of the program focuses on the condition of changing the Constitution to include Bulgarian people in the preamble as a pre-condition for advancing accession talks. This condition was put forward by Bulgaria, which previously vetoed the adoption of the EU negotiating framework with North Macedonia.

“To devise possible solutions in relation to the issue of constitutional change, which has already been set as a condition for the beginning of EU accession talks, the Government will offer legal and legitimate possibilities and proposals aligned with international law and principles. These proposals will produce conditions for significant predictability of the EU integration process, protected from unprincipled demands, which will result in the full membership of North Macedonia in the EU”, the program reads.

The Government will also propose a new National Strategy for foreign policy, the goal of which will be the protection of Macedonian national interests in multilateral organisations, professionalization of diplomatic service, and a consistent foreign policy.

The introduction to the program states that the “leading goal is to renew faith in the state institutions, to eliminate corruption and to ensure the rule of law”.

The first sections of the document focused on economic growth, the fight against corruption and the rule of law.

One of the goals in the program is abolishing the concept of the technical government for organising elections, which has been implemented since the 2015 political crisis.

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