Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that he will turn to the chambers of commerce and ask them to propose a replacement for his outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Koco Angusev. Angusev, who was in charge of economic development, announced he will leave the Government following the early general elections scheduled for April 2020.

He was the choice of the chambers of commerce and we will turn to them again to nominate his replacement. Angusev manages major companies, his revenue is down and we will talk about his future if the citizens give us the honor of a second mandate, Zaev told the press.

Angusev confirmed that the reason he wants to leave Zaev’s Government is the fact that his energy producing and trading businesses, as well as the light manufacturing business he ran, had a sharp drop in revenue due to his absence from the running of the business. “When I agreed to be part of the Government I did so with the most honest of intentions, and I wanted to use the knowledge I have gained to help the country. But unfortunately, in this period my revenue went down, the profits were down by 50 percent in some segments. This is not only because I wouldn’t compete to win public contracts, but because of my personal absence. I will finish my term but I’m not a party member and I will withdraw from politics in the future”, Angusev said.

This comment prompted ridicule, given that Angusev was mentioned in a series of scandals while in the Government. His companies received favorable decisions from the Government regarding land issues, he won a hefty grant from the highly controversial Innovations Fund and sold a large portion of his business to the Greek state energy company DEH while the Government was negotiating the Prespa treaty.

Ivor Mickovski, an SDSM official turned critic of the ruling party, responded to Angusev’s announcement by sharing a graph of the earnings his companies Feroinvest and Brako reported, which shows a large growth in revenue after he joined the Government, of 143 percent in the case of Brako.