Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski sent his resignation letter to the president of parliament, Trajko Veljanovski, as planned on January 15 2016, a key step in a deal brokered by the EU and the US towards early parliamentary elections in the former Yugoslav republic.
Gruevski’s VMRO-DPMNE party has named party secretary-general Emil Dimitriev as interim prime minister, with the main task of preparations for elections, scheduled for April 24.
Gruevski had confirmed in a televised address to the nation on January 14 that he would go ahead with his resignation.
In a formal announcement, Veljanovski said that he had received Gruevski’s resignation, and said that as president of parliament, he would act on the basis of the country’s constitution, laws and regulation, ” but I will also follow the talks that will be held today between the four political parties with the brokerage of the European Union in order to deliver the political obligations of the June 2 agreement”.
This was a reference to the 2015 agreement worked out in a bid to bring to an end Macedonia’s political crisis that began with a boycott by SDSM of parliament after the opposition socialist party said that Gruevski had stolen the 2014 elections, a crisis that deepened with allegations of large-scale illegal eavesdropping by Gruevski’s government, and that saw the country experience further turbulence after a violent and fatal clash between police and an ethnic Albanian armed group in May.
Veljanovski expressed hope that political leaders would manage to overcome their challenges, in order to further democratic development of Macedonia.
“I believe that in the coming period a further step forward will be made in fulfilling the obligations of the agreement, and in order to further stabilize the overall situation in the country,” Veljanovski said.
European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn visited Skopje on January 15, beginning meetings with major political parties in a bid to ensure that the June 2015 agreement would be implemented.