Outgoing Prime Minister Zoran Zaev did a climb down on his initial position, that he will respect the decision of the Venice Commission, which found serious problems with Zaev’s law that turns Macedonia into a bilingual – Macedonian – Albanian country.

Zaev’s u-turn comes after his Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Osmani rejected the legal decision of the Commission, who even warned of war if the law is dropped.

Zaev initially said that the law will be sent back to Parliament, to include the objections raised by the Commission. but after Osmani’s forceful reaction, which puts in jeopardy Zaev’s coalition with the DUI party, the outgoing Prime Minister quickly changed tack.

We were always consistent in our statements and I would like to again confirm to the public that many good things happened in the past two and a half years, in that our people, all of its ethnic communities, different religious groups and of course their various cultural heritage were united around the concept of “one society for all”. The law was one of the things that united us. Of course, as we said before, we sent our joint letters and opinions to the Venice Commission, the Government made its decision, and the Parliament adopted the law, Zaev today revealed his current position on the law.

A recent poll showed Zaev’s SDSM party way down among ethnic Macedonians, and maintaining his current coalition, and possibly evening the odds with VMRO-DPMNE at the coming elections in April, requires that Zaev receives a good share of ethnic Albanian votes. This makes the odds of him respecting the decision of the Venice Commission very low.