President Ivanov Expected to Award Mandate to Form Next Government
Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov is expected to award the mandate to form the next Government on Monday. Under the Constitution, this is the last day when the President can pick Prime Minister designate, from the party that has a majority in Parliament.
After the early elections, newly elected members of Parliament met for the first time on December 30th, putting in place the constitutional deadlines. President Ivanov said he will abide by them.
Ninth Parliament since Macedonia declared independence has 51 representatives from the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party and 49 from the social-democratic SDSM party. Smaller parties that represent mainly ethnic Albanians include DUI with 10 seats, BESA with 5, the Alliance of Albanians with 3 and DPA with 2 seats. At least 61 votes are needed to form a Government, which is traditionally made of by the largest party that represents mostly ethnic Macedonians and the largest "Albanian" party.
Once the mandate is awarded, the Prime Minister designate has 20 days to propose a list of Government members to Parliament for its approval, along with program for the Government. Unofficial talks are believed to already taking place.
Three of the parties that represent ethnic Albanians, DUI, BESA and the Alliance, met over the weekend to announce their joint platform. It calls for full bilingualism, or official use of the Albanian language, constitutional changes, changes in the way budget funds are distributed, a new flag, coat of arms and anthem for the country, Parliamentary apology to Albanians for past historic injustices and active participation in talks with Greece and Bulgaria that would lead to EU and NATO accession.
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