The Macedonian Parliament failed to hold a vote yesterday evening on the proposed PPO law on state prosecutors. The law requires 81 votes, and around 9 in the evening it became apparent that the ruling SDSM party doesn’t have the votes. The session was postponed for today at 13h as the Parliament moved to discuss another highly divisive issue – SDSM’s request that Labour and Welfare Minister Rasela Mizrahi is removed.

The PPO law caused a heated debate in Parliament all day Friday, as it was defended not by SDSM but by members of the so-called “Gang of eight” – former opposition members of Parliament who were bribed and blackmailed into supporting the imposed name change. Representatives such as Emilija Aleksandrova and Nola Ismajlovska – Starova clashed with VMRO-DPMNE members of Parliament Antonio Milososki and Ilija Dimovski over the law that would see SDSM further enhance its control over the judiciary.

Most of the “Gang of eight” faced politically driven criminal charges which are used to pressure them into voting for Zoran Zaev’s legislative agenda. Some of them received amnesty for some of the crimes they were charged with, but others are still under legal threat. VMRO-DPMNE representatives pointed to the many criminal and corruption allegations against their former colleagues in the “Gang of eight” – allegations that were raised by SDSM affiliated prosecutors and parroted in SDSM linked media outlets, only to have SDSM applaud the most notorious “Gang of eight” member Krsto Mukoski in Parliament because he supported the law on state prosecutors. “I congratulate SDSM on their coalition with Krsto Mukoski”, Milososki said, while accusing former intelligence chief Saso Mijalkov – once the most hated man in SDSM circles – of coordinating the actions of the group and its support for the PPO law while making business deals with the Zaev family.

The outcome of the session today is also in doubt, as the “Gang of eight” submitted 300 amendments to the law. More than an attempt to present themselves as independent factors in the making of the law, the amendments, if not withdrawn, would grind the debate down. The Parliament should dissolve by Sunday if it is to have any hope of holding early elections on April 12.

The law also caused a rift between SDSM and its coalition partner DUI. SDSM officials Zaev and Oliver Spasovski accused their Albanian partner of slowing down the adoption of the law through Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi and even threatened to break up their coalition. Xhaferi was openly mocking SDSM yesterday evening, when it became clear they don’t have the votes for the PPO law: “Well, this was ironic, we ended our debate at 21:20 and where have you gone?”, Xhaferi told the SDSM representatives as they refused to put the law to a vote.