PM to rebuild his cabinet
Macedonia’s conservative PM Nikola Gruevski is rebuilding his cabinet after the resignations of several ministers. After the resignation of Ivica Bocevski, deputy prime minister in charge of European integration, who was accused by the Macedonian media of secret negotiations with Greek diplomats over the name dispute, a few more ministers followed in his footsteps. The Minister of Education, Pero Stoyanovski, the Minister of Agriculture, Aco Spasenovski and his deputy, Hristian Delev also resigned. According to the opposition, the explanation for Bocevski’s resignation lies in the fact that in three years Macedonia has not gotten a positive review on its European integration from Brussels. Bocevski’s own explanation states that he has nothing more to offer to the Government. Gruevski also fired the Minister of Finance, Trajko Slavevski. Besides the ministers, the Secretary General of the Government, Stoyan Todorov, also submitted his resignation. The chief prosecutor in Skopje, Steryo Zikov, was also dismissed. The main party in opposition, the Social democrats, say that these events speak of the failure of the entire government and are contemplating on bringing up a vote of no confidence. In the meanwhile, the Macedonian Parliament has approved the nominations of three new deputy prime ministers and two ministers. Zoran Stavrevski, a deputy prime minister in resignation, has now become the Minister of Finance and will be a deputy prime minister without portfolio. Vasko Naumovski will be the new vice PM responsible for European affairs, while Lyupcho Dimovski will become the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Aquaculture. Nikola Todorov will be the Minister of Science and Education.
Analysis and forecast (↑ increasing risk)
The main criticism towards Gruevski’s government is that it cannot deal with the financial crisis in an effective way and has not reached enough progress in regards to the EU integration of the country. Macedonia has been an EU candidate country since 2005, but Brussels has cited insufficient reforms as a reason for not offering a firm date to begin accession talks. Bocevski’s resignation comes only months before this autumn’s European Commission report on Macedonia, which Skopje is hoping will contain a recommendation for a commencement of the EU accession talks. Perhaps, the PM and his deputy prime minister in charge of European integration had disagreements on how the name dispute should be handled or in what way the reforms should be carried out. In any case, Bocevski’s resignation signaled the small-scale cabinet reconstruction that is still in progress. Most probably, ministers from the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) are also going to change and a dismissal of the Investment Minister, Vele Samak, is not going to be surprising. The PM is also not satisfied with the work of the Justice Minister, Mihajlo Manevski, who he believes has been slow to implement the judicial reforms seen as crucial for the country’s EU bid. Gruevski is isolating people who are slowing down the political path that he considers his country should walk and people with whom he has cooled his relations with. In this way, he will have more control over the government and will speed up the process of EU integration. As for now, the government reshuffling speaks for a momentary political instability, however, it is yet to be seen if these changes bring out the sought after results.