From: Alice Taylor
No-Confidence Vote Against Macedonian Leader Fails as Only 60 MPs Turn Up

The no-confidence vote against Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev failed yesterday after an MP went ‘missing’ and only half of the parliamentarians turned up.

Parliament was due to vote on the future of Zaev, who had previously announced his resignation, and then rescinded it the day before the vote was scheduled to take place. His pledged resignation occurred after his party lost local elections to the opposition VMRO-DPMNE who swiftly called for a snap election.

The key to the vote’s failure was the ‘disappearance’ of Besa party MP Kastriot Rexhepi. Having previously said he would attend and support Zaev before the scheduled hearing; he said he had changed his mind and would not participate.

The leader of the Besa party, Bilal Kasami, then reported him as missing to the police after he could not be found in either of his homes. Rexhepi then published a video message, stating, “I am fine, safe, and on the right side.”

Hristijan Mickoski, leader of VMRO-DPNE, defined the situation as a “shame on our democracy. If the Government thinks that this outcome is a political triumph for them, they are very much mistaken.”

This is the latest upheaval in North Macedonia’s tumultuous political environment. Currently, the opposition will control the country at a municipal level. Another possible stressor on the already precarious situation is the upcoming Bulgarian elections scheduled for this weekend.

Earlier this week, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited the region and said that the outcome of Bulgaria’s elections would impact Albania and North Macedonia’s EU accession path.

“In order for Albania to hold its First Intergovernmental Conference, it is essential that the issues between Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia be resolved. I hope this happens. You have done a lot. To be fair, [Albania] has made the right amount of progress,” Rutte said.

In June 2021, the General Affairs Council of the EU disagreed on starting accession talks with the two countries. Requiring a unanimous decision by the foreign ministers of all 27 states, the veto by Bulgaria made it impossible. Bulgarian President Rumen Radev has set three conditions that North Macedonia must fulfil before they lift the veto.

In a comment to Exit’s partner EURACTIV, political analyst Georgi Kiryakov said the chances of forming a stable government in Sofia are minimal. If this proves to be the case, it will not give the green light for Skopje, leaving Zaev, a pro-European leader, in a difficult position.