A new government coalition and a new Prime Minister in North Macedonia
Following the exit of the small ethnic Albanian party, BESA, from the government coalition and its subsequent support of the initiative to vote no-confidence to the Government, the coalition formed by the Social Democratic Party (SDSM) and the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) has been very fragile in recent months. However, in the end, the Alternative party, which is represented by only 4 members of the Parliament, joined the coalition and the Government maintained the needed majority.
This agreement was concluded between the Prime Minister and the Social Democratic Party leader, Zoran Zaev, and the head of the Alternative, Aftim Gashi, on December 4, 2021.
Despite the low number of deputies, the Alternative party played an important role in retaining the Government. Thanks to the role of the “rescuer of the Government”, the party gained the post of Minister of Health, Minister of Diaspora, and Minister of Information Society and Administration. In addition to these ministries, it will also take over managerial positions at several important state-owned enterprises.
Although the renewed Government was led for a while by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the Social Democrats elected his successor on December 12, in connection with Zaev’s announced resignation after the party lost municipal elections in October last year. As expected, Dimitar Kovachevski, an economist and up until recently, the Deputy Finance Minister, was elected his successor from among the three candidates. The other two candidates were Jovan Despotovski, head of the National Directorate for Technological Industrial Development, and Frosina Remenska, former deputy head of the Social Democrats.
Zoran Zaev officially resigned on December 23 and submitted his resignation to the Parliament. On December 26, Dimitar Kovachevski received a mandate from President Stevo Pendarovski to form a government. D. Kovachevski then took the office on January 18, 2021.
Kovachevski, as the prime minister, is expected to improve relations with Bulgaria. Progress in the dispute with Bulgaria could also be brought by the newly elected Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, who, in agreement with Zoran Zaev, agreed to resolve the dispute within 6 months at the latest. The timeline that seems overly ambitious, at least.
The proposal is to speed up communication and cooperation through several working groups in the economic, cultural, health, energy, infrastructure, and other areas.