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Charges will test fragile new Macedonian government

Friday, June 30, 2017

Significance

The 17 cases concern abuse of institutional capacities, abuse of office and violation of public procurement procedure. Janeva indicated that she might ask for the detention of 18 individuals including a party leader, widely believed to be Nikola Gruevski of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) and his closest associates. Gruevski was quick to argue that Janeva's move was politically motivated, and said he was ending his "toleration" of the government led by Social Democrat (SDSM) leader Zoran Zaev, raising the spectre of another spate of VMRO-orchestrated demonstrations.

Impacts

  • Zaev is likely to move resolutely against 'Gruevski's oligarchs' but this may not eliminate clientelism, as SDSM has had its own favourites.
  • NATO membership is an absolute priority for the new government, mindful that EU membership is likely to take much longer.
  • While relations with Bulgaria and Greece are improving, relations with Serbia have suffered since Zaev's coming to power.
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