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Parliament: Right-wing Mickoski becomes head of government in North Macedonia

Parliament: Right-wing Mickoski becomes head of government in North Macedonia
Parliament: Right-wing Mickoski becomes head of government in North Macedonia

A breath of fresh air in North Macedonia: The Social Democrats are handing over power to the nationalist party VMRO-DPMNE. Observers are looking at the country with concern.

The parliament in North Macedonia has elected the chairman of the nationalist party VMRO-DPMNE, Hristijan Mickoski, as the new prime minister. 77 MPs voted for him and 22 against him, reported the news portal “vesti.mk”. 21 MPs did not participate in the vote.

The VMRO-DPMNE emerged as the clear winner from the parliamentary elections on May 8, but does not have a majority in parliament on its own. Mickoski formed a coalition with the Albanian party alliance VLEN (Macedonian: VREDI) and the small liberal party ZNAM. The VMRO-DPMNE takes over 15 ministries, VLEN 6 and ZNAM 2.

Change of power after seven years

The VMRO-led government replaces a seven-year period of power by the Social Democrats (SDSM). Under the Social Democratic Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the small Balkan country resolved the name dispute with Greece and renamed itself from Macedonia to North Macedonia in 2019. This paved the way for North Macedonia’s accession to NATO in 2020. Athens had rejected the country’s old name because its northern province has the same name.

Most recently, the Social Democrats lost popularity due to poor governance and administrative deficiencies and were defeated in the elections on May 8. After the change of power, observers fear that North Macedonia’s efforts to join the EU will be set back. The VMRO-DPMNE has so far stuck to its nationalist positions, which are straining relations with EU neighbors Greece and Bulgaria.

At least Mickoski used the correct name of the country when he took the oath of office after being elected head of government. His party colleague Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, who also became the new president in the election on May 8, demonstratively used the old name of the country at her inauguration the previous month – and thereby triggered a diplomatic scandal.

Source: Stern

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