Macedonian president revokes all pardons in wiretapping scandal
Macedonian president Gjorge Ivanov has revoked all pardons that he controversially issued in the country’s wiretapping scandal.
Ivanov had been under continuous large-scale public pressure from protesters in Macedonia and from Western diplomats to revoke the pardons, which he granted on April 12.
The pardons were granted to 56 public figures, including former prime minister and VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski and socialist opposition leader Zoran Zaev, in connection with allegations of illegal eavesdropping on thousands of Macedonians.
The wiretapping scandal deepened Macedonia’s already considerable political crisis. A June 2015 EU-brokered deal envisaged the government’s resignation, early parliamentary elections and the assignment of a special prosecutor to investigate the illegal surveillance.
Ivanov’s amnesty decision effectively halted the work of the special prosecutor and led to widely-supported public protests demanding his resignation.
On May 27, he withdrew the amnesty for 22 politicians, though without disclosing who they were.
In a statement on June 6, Ivanov said that although the law had been changed for those who had not had their amnesty withdrawn to lodge applications to do so, none had applied.
Ivanov said that in the previous 10 days, there had been various interpretations of his decision to revoke some of the amnesties and he criticised what he called attempts to “score petty political points”. He said that his decision had been intended to contribute to national reconciliation and offer a way out of the political crisis in the country.
He announced the amnesties of the remaining 34 individuals were also being revoked.
Macedonia had been scheduled to have early parliamentary elections on June 5, postponed from a previous date, but the elections were called off, with the EU and the US among those underlining that conditions were not conducive to free and fair polls in the country.