Ivanov Surrenders, Expected to Give Zaev Mandate Today

Macedonian President Gjorgje Ivanov is expected today to give SDSM leader Zoran Zaev a mandate to form a new government.

Since the general elections of December 11, 2016, Macedonia has been in a deep political crisis, with President Ivanov consistently refusing to give former opposition leader Zaev a mandate to form a new government with the Albanian minority parties. Main point of contention was the so-called “Tirana platform,” an agreement reached between the Albanian parties on January 7 in Tirana under the auspices of Prime Minister Edi Rama.

The crisis recently escalated when supporters of former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski invaded the Macedonian Parliament after the election of a new Speaker, the ethnically Albanian Talat Xhaferi.

On May 15, Speaker Xhaferi set an ultimatum to President Ivanov, declaring that Parliament would independently elect a new government after ten days, unless Zaev was given his mandate.

It now seems that President Ivanov has yielded the internal, and no doubt international, pressure.