Macedonian opposition rally insists upon PM’s resignation

Opposition parties in Macedonia continue to demand resignation of Prime Minister Gruevski as crisis further deepening through street rallies in Skopje

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Macedonian opposition organized a street demonstration on Sunday with thousands of people in the capital Skopje, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski whose post was already embattled with wiretapping and corruption allegations since the past several months.  

Mass protests aimed to reiterate the opposition’s call for resignation of Gruevski who was accused of wiretapping, corruption, weak policies and an ailing economy by the main opposition figure Zoran Zaev, the leader of Social Democratic Union of Macedonia.

Zaev told the crowd filled streets of Skopje that the only way to the salvation of Macedonia lays in the EU membership for that Gruevski government was not eligible to fulfill the necessary criteria.  

Speaking at the rally titled "For Macedonia" to which nearly 20,000 people were assumed to have attended, Zaev said they would continue until Gruevski quits from his post.

"We will stay here in front of the government. Nikola Gruevski must resign,”Zaev said.

“There is only one goal, and that is ensuring the fall of the Nikola Gruevski regime.”   

Zaev in recent months has published some wiretapping records through which he claims include voices purported to be of Gruevski and his senior officials.

Zaev alleged in the records that Gruevski and his closest men were discussing how to employ members of the ruling rightist Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO) in state jobs, together with picking members of judiciary and swaying of elections.  

Zaev alleges that Gruevski’s intelligence service had illegally recorded voice of up to 20,000 people.

The nine years incumbent Gruevski denied the allegations by dismissing wiretapping records as he implied there was a foreign-funded plot against him and his government to prevent the country's bid from joining the European Union (EU).

On Tuesday, Macedonia’s interior and transport ministers together with the head of intelligence resigned as the government of Gruevski came under pressure in the wake opposition’s wiretapping allegation

The quitting of those top officials also coincided with the last Sunday’s Kumanova events when at least eight police officers and 14 members of an “armed group” were killed after a day-long clash in the northern Macedonian city of Kumanovo near by the Kosovo border.

Kumanovo was one of the places where Macedonia’s ethnic Albanians densely populated and staged the ethnic uprising in May 2001.

Ethnic Albanians constitute nearly a quarter of Macedonia's total population and live near by the borders with Albania and Kosovo.

Gruevski, Zaev, and ethnic Albanian party leaders held talks this week to resolve the deepening crisis, but little progress obtained in terms of terminating the political deadlock in the country.

The deadly clashes in Kumanovo alarmed the West about stability of the southeastern Europe where the EU integration came to fore as a blueprint vision for the regional governments.

Macedonia has been negotiating its membership with the EU from 2005 onwards, but the country’s border issues with Greece and its name have created some problems between the coterminous nations.

Greece recognises Macedonia as “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” rather than the Republic of Macedonia and vetoed the country’s some chapters in EU negotiations and its full membership in the NATO alliance.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday accused the West for boiling the political tension by fomenting a "color revolution" in the troubled Balkan country.

"(This is) convincing evidence ... of attempts to push the country into the abyss of 'color revolution'," the Russian FM statement said.

"This is also evidence that Western organizers of such catastrophic scenarios prefer to realize them with the hands of others," the ministry added by drawing a parallel with the crisis in Ukraine.

Since Kosovo declared independence in 2008, a move that Moscow never recognized, the Kremlin leadership became very discontent with the region’s further integration with both EU and NATO.


TRTWorld and agencies