Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

Parliament meets on two items: the 2017 budget and its own dissolution

sobranie118_2016459051

Macedonian Parliament convenes on Monday with two main items on the agenda – approving the budget for 2017 and its own dismissal to pave way for the early elections set for 11 December.

Heads of party groups in Parliament are set to meet at 10h to coordinate before the session begins at 12h. Last week SDSM proposed that Parliament is dismissed on the first day when it is possible to do so, but VMRO-DPMNE asked that the budget is first passed, to avoid any possible economic disturbances given the late date for the elections. Macedonia has not held elections in December before, and the budget is supposed to be passed by the end of the year.

Several other items are on the agenda of the Parliament, such as appointments to the Regulatory Committee on Energy, changes to the law regulating banking activity and such. SDSM, through a smaller coalition partner, the Democratic Alliance, also asked that the Parliament extends the mandate of Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva and gives her additional powers in appointing protected witnesses. But, these are unlikely to be on the agenda, given that VMRO-DPMNE has reacted strongly after Janeva declared the Parliament as illegitimate and has marked her work as unprofessional and biased.

The four leading parties agreed that conditions to hold elections on 11 December have been met, and during a recent visit by European Commissioner Johannes Hahn, he said that the atmosphere among the leaders has improved and all was being prepared to hold the elections. The vote was postponed twice during 2016, after SDSM refused to participate, citing incomplete preparations.