Zaev: I got Support from US Embassy, No need to meet with President
Friday, 28 April 2017

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SDSM party leader Zoran Zaev rejected the call from President Gjorge Ivanov to hold a meeting of all leaders of political parties in Parliament following the violent incident on Thursday. Zaev said that he has the support of the United States Embassy, Brussels' Mogherini and Hahn and that's all it matters, according to the SDS leader. They (Baily, Mogherini) are behind the vote for his candidate for Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi and that he expects Xhaferi to assume the position, and later to ask President Ivanov to give Zaev the mandate to form a Government.

Zaev goes Hollywood

"Yesterday we made a major step in the democratic processes. We elected a new Speaker of the Parliament in line with the will of the majority of the citizens. In the future we look forward to forming a new, reform oriented Government, which is expected by the domestic and international public. The violence against the journalists and the elected representatives that happened last night is not part of the democratic values", Zaev said, speaking about the storming of the Parliament by several hundred protesters, who pushed inside as it became apparent that SDS and some of its Albanian coalition partners are trying to force a vote for a new Speaker. Several members of Parliament from SDS and from the Alliance of Albanians, including Zaev, were injured in the clash that broke out, and at today's press conference Zaev and some of his colleagues appeared with bandages on their heads. Zaev blamed President Ivanov, the VMRO-DPMNE party, its leader Nikola Gruevski and the head of the uniformed police Mitko Cavkov for the incident and threatened Cavkov to resign and get as far away from Macedonia as possible. The violent incident, according to Zaev, makes President Ivanov part of the problem and is the reason why SDS rejects his call for a meeting of all leaders that represent parties elected to the Parliament.

"What happened last night was a premeditated murder attempt. You could see the attackers moving thorugh Parliament and coordinating with the police to find us, the members of Parliament. Unfortunately, this also brough in peril the journalists who were targeted by the vandals", Zaev said, adding a word of gratitude to VMRO-DPMNE member of Parliament Vladimir Gjorcev who helped shield SDSM representatives from attacks.

President Ivanov and VMRO-DPMNE leader Gruevski said that the election of Xhaferi, which was held as SDSM members of Parliament and some of their coalition partners huddled in a part of the main Parliament hall, is illegitimate. Zaev claimed at the press conference that Xhaferi was elected at a separate session of the Parliament in which 67 representatives were present, and out of them 61 voted in favor - which is the bare minimum needed in the Parliament with 120 seats in total. It was impossible in the hectic atmosphere to count the exact number of representatives who raised their hands and some media outlets said that members from Zaev's coalition were absent making it mathematically impossible to elect Xhaferi. In fact, Zaev was at least 10 votes short in an already illegal vote.

Never the less, Zaev said that he expects that Speaker Trajko Veljanoski vacates his position and allowes Xhaferi to take over. Afterwards, Zaev said that he expects Xhaferi to inform President Ivanov that there is a majority in Parliament giving its support for Zaev to become the next Prime Minister, so that Ivanov could give him the mandate. Ivanov refused to do so, demanding that Zaev first rejects the controversial Tirana platform which calls for changing of the Macedonian national emblems, full bilingualism, Albanian veto rights over public spending and an apology for genocide.

The Public Prosecution however, has the next and likely the last word.


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