Talat Xhaferi is the new Assembly Speaker in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. He is also the first Albanian in this post since the country declared independence and the second in the history of this country, because such post has also been held during the ‘80s, at the time of the Yugoslav Federation by Vullnet Starova.
Speaking in an exclusive interview for IBNA, Mr. Xhaferi says that he was elected in this post in compliance with the Constitution, respecting the will of the majority of citizens, represented by the new parliamentary majority consisting of the Macedonian Democratic Union (SDSM), Democratic Union for Integration (BDI), which Xhaferi is part of and the Alliance for Albanians. As far as the creation of the new government is concerned, Xhaferi said that Ivanov must give the mandate to Zaev to form the new government, otherwise, he warns that he will convene parliament in order for the new majority to elect the new Government, even without Ivanov.
Interviewed for Independent Balkan News Agency by Naser Pajaziti
IBNA: You were elected speaker of Parliament and this election triggered violence, but also reaction by VMRO-DPMNE, a party which doesn’t accept you, because according to it, your election was against the Parliament’s Rulebook and the Constitution. What is your comment on this?
Xhaferi: I am the speaker of Parliament since the moment of the voting. I was elected in this post in compliance with the Parliament’s Rulebook and Constitution. In spite of the different approaches that political parties have, I am ready to collaborate with everyone, in spite of what happened on 27 April. Being the head of this legislative institution, I am committed in doing my job by respecting the law and Constitution of the country.
IBNA: As of this Monday, the mandate for mayors all over the country is outdated due to the failure to hold local government elections, which should have been held in May. A solution is demanded in Parliament. Will their mandate be extended or will new elections be decided?
Xhaferi: Yes, I have set up a meeting with all parliamentary parties in order to overcome this situation which requires a solution. As speaker of Parliament, I have been asked by the Association of Mayors and Ministry of Local Government a number of requests with the aim of overcoming the crisis. Political parties must agree on the election date, in order for me to announce the local elections. My decision to announce the elections is a mere formality and I shall not do this without first communicating with political parties. This issue must be addressed fast, because it’s in the best interest of the people.
IBNA: Are you expecting president George Ivanov to issue a mandate until the end of the week to the social democrat leader, Zoran Zaev to form a government in order for the new majority to vote this government and its program in Parliament?
Xhaferi: I expect president Ivanov to reflect and give the mandate. He is obliged to give the mandate and is not entitled to an opinion. There are no legal obstacles to prevent me from convening a session where the new Government is voted. Ivanov has the constitutional obligation to give the mandate within 10 days. If he fails to do this, I have the constitutional right to convene a session for the voting of the government.
IBNA: Are you waiting a violent reaction again?
Xhaferi: I am convinced that the events of 27 April shall not be repeated again. There may be protests in front of Parliament as this is a democratic right, but violence will not be tolerated and I appeal against violence.
IBNA: Will Parliament encourage an investigation in relation to the April 27 violence, where MPs were brutally beaten?
Xhaferi: It is my right to sponsor an initiative for political responsibility and I shall insist for this to happen. According to procedures, all the video footage is classified and cannot be published, but they will be part of the investigation. I am ready to shed light on those events and this will be done through a special parliamentary commission. Once the investigation comes to an end, Parliament will come out with the responsible people of this event, including MPs. In the legal point of view, we might also be obliged to remove immunities for MPs who are involved in the April 27 events. I am ready to back this process. /balkaneu.com/