While many MPs from all parties are packing their bags for the UK, in order to attend a conference at the prestigious Wilton Park Institute, no one in the Parliament has a precise answer as to what will happen to the Law on the Use of Languages.
If it we consider by the Law on Parliament, the deadline has passed on the Law, on which President Gjorge Ivanov vetoed, should be considered in the third reading. According to Article 38 of the Law on Assembly, if the President decides not to sign a decree on promulgation of a law, the Assembly shall review it again within 30 days of its adoption. The Law on Languages was enacted on January 11, therefore Speaker Talat Xhaferi stated recently that it should is supposed to be analyzed by the 11th of this month, or until yesterday.
A plenary session is not expected in parliament during this week, as Xhaferi is also traveling to London, where the Wilton Park conference begins tomorrow, to discuss important concerns about policies and functioning of the Macedonian Parliament. The parliamentary delegation, which returns to the country next weekend, consists of thirty people, that is, several MPs, as well as employees in the parliamentary services.
In that context, there is no explanation as to what will happen to the Law, whether it will “fail” or they will seek a detour to resume its consideration in the third reading, after VMRO-DPMNE delivered over 35 thousand amendments. As one of the possible options, is mentioned that the Law has already been placed on the agenda of the 32nd session which has been started, so it is not excluded that this would be the justification that the procedure did not start for its re-examination on time.
For SDSM, and especially for DUI, the adoption of the Law on Languages is of key importance, as it is the basis of the precautionary agreement between the two ruling parties, and at the initiative of the parties from the Albanian bloc. However, despite SDSM’s initial commitments to the law under all procedures, Xhaferi did not exclude to skip the amendment debate as an ultimate possibility, which, according to VMRO-DPMNE, would mean the abolition of the parliament.
According to VMRO-DPMNE’s announcements, Artan Grubi from DUI, who is currently on a business trip to America and, who as chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on European Affairs, managed the amendment procedure for the Law on languages yesterday through his FB profile. He, in fact, points out that it is a similar law that DUI had previously agreed with VMRO-DPMNE, while the two parties were part of the ruling coalition.
“VMRO-DPMNE should respond to my statement on the Law on Languages that they completely accepted last year, and not invent non-existent things,” Grubi wrote on Facebook.
Before the second reading of the Law, VMRO-DPMNE submitted “only” eighteen amendments, but they were rejected in the absence of the opposition party’s caucus. About the possibilities for removing the current parliamentary blockade, there is informal coordination between parliamentary groups, including VMRO-DPMNE, which boycotts the parliament, but announced participation in the discussion about the Law on languages.
One of the possibilities is that the amendments are grouped according to their similarity and the legal members they refer to. In that way, according to the estimates, the work would be significantly eased, given that 33,844 amendments refer to Article 22, which regulates the penalties for non-compliance with the Law on Languages. This article provides for a fine in the amount of four thousand to five thousand euros in denar equivalent for misdemeanor institutions, and a fine of 30 percent of the sentenced sentence will be imposed on an official and responsible person. According to estimates, the amendments from VMRO-DPMNE in this part envisage different amounts of penalties, ranging from one euro to several thousand euros. Also, MPs of VMRO-DPMNE submitted 318 amendments to Article 5 of the Law, which refers to the use of Albanian language in the Government, while 222 interventions are for Article 9, which regulates the use of languages in judicial, administrative, enforcement proceedings./IBNA