Chamber of Commerce director Azeski blames the opposition for the Government’s inability to pass laws, Mickoski responds

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Branko Azeski, the long-standing head of the SKM chamber of commerce, called on the Parliament to adopt the Government proposal for financial aid to businesses hit by the coronavirus. Zaev’s slim ruling majority, which was gathered in full force only once in months – yesterday to vote to re-confirm Zaev’s cabinet – means that most times there are not enough votes to even convene a session of Parliament. The opposition could help provide the votes, but Zaev’s systemic persecution and violation of democratic norms make the opposition parties highly unwilling to work with Zaev.

After a meeting with Zaev’s two finance ministers, Fatmir Besimi and Fatmir Bytiqi, the anger was focused on the opposition.

Unfortunately, the executive can only pressure up to a point. The Parliament is independent and the parties decide when they will provide the necessary quorum of 61 votes to open a session. I hope that the members of Parliament will show virtue beyond narrow political interests, Bytiqi said. Azeski added that “the opposition and other parties need to know that every denar counts and that while the Government has shown goodwill, the other parties are making things more difficult in the economy”.

VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski responded to Azeski. “We never hear our business elite talk about how we have the most corrupt, most criminal Government in the Balkans, about how our institutions and judiciary are kept captive, about the economic collapse, job losses, the lack of vaccines, and the exceptionally bad infection and mortality rates. You won’t hear the head of the Chamber of Commerce talk about these issues”, Mickoski replied.

After the inconclusive July 2020 elections, Zaev was advised to form a broad coalition that would have the necessary majority to advance both Covid relief and to negotiate the opening of Macedonia’s EU accession talks with Bulgaria. But he opted for a very narrow coalition that would keep his SDSM party in charge, but with barely enough votes to convene the Parliament.