North Macedonia: More Zaev-Ahmeti meetings will be needed to form a government

North Macedonia: More Zaev-Ahmeti meetings will be needed to form a government

On Monday, the two leaders of the incumbent ruling coalition, namely Zoran Zaev and Ali Ahmeti, appeared more restrained than openly optimistic that they are close to an agreement to form a new government. After their latest meeting in Parliament, it is clear that there are other things that the two leaders need to finalize, among which, probably the most important for the DUI election campaign, the issue of the Albanian Prime Minister.

The last meetings between the two took place almost in secrecy, but after today’s meeting, both Zaev and Ahmeti decided to proceed with statements to reporters and announce that many more meetings would be needed to conclude the formation of a new coalition government.

If, based on the announcements of President Stevo Pendarovski, after the expiration of ten days from the verification of the mandates to the new deputies, he gives the order to form a government (which is during the weekend), that will mean that Zaev and Ahmeti will have to conclude most of the consultations, in order for them to be completed in the next few days. If they agree on a new coalition, the president of the new National Assembly could be elected very soon.

After the meeting, Zaev said there was still a long way to go before an agreement could be reached, reiterating that Ahmeti’s request for a joint meeting with the Albanian parties on the anniversary of the Framework Agreement felt like pressure on him and the “We Can” coalition. He also said that such an invitation from Ahmeti should include the participation of representatives of other smaller ethnic communities, including the SDSM and the VMRO-DPMNE.

“Negotiations will continue in the coming days, but it is good that the narrative of the coalition agreement has been established. I do not think we will waste a lot of time distributing the ministries, we know who is ready to take responsibility and where, but all this will mean a debate with the staff, but we certainly have a lot to work on in the coming days”, Zaev stated during the press conference.

Ali Ahmeti appeared more restrained in his statements and in a way even more optimistic than Zaev. “It is in the interest of the state to continue the partnership, which has closed many important issues – NATO membership and the start of negotiations with the EU. We expect a positive outcome from these discussions. We are investing in the right direction of the problems”, said Ahmeti.

Ahmeti declined to comment whether the main obstacle at this stage of the talks was the DUI’s request for an Albanian prime minister. “I do not want to be the first to say the last word. We are investing in issues in the right direction and we are ready to do that for the country, because it will benefit stability and the state, as well as the rapprochement of communities. I hope that all parties will have a strong will to overcome differences and difficulties”, Ahmeti replied.

After Ahmeti invited yesterday the leaders of the Albanian political bloc parties for a joint meeting on Thursday, on the occasion of the anniversary of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, Zaev, speaking to TV 24, described it as pressure on him, the SDSM and the “We Can” coalition, noting however that it was “too early to say whether this meeting could affect the formation of the new parliamentary majority”.

Prior to the meeting, Ahmeti said there was no pressure on Zaev from them. Asked by TV 24 if they would form a parliamentary majority, Ahmeti replied briefly: “We will”.

In the recent past, as in the previous days, as well as yesterday through statements, The SDSM informed that they were carrying on with serious talks for the formation of a stable parliamentary majority and a governing coalition with a full, four-year, stable mandate. /ibna