As expected, the Macedonian Parliament voted with a very narrow majority to elect a new Government led by Zoran Zaev. In favor were 62 members of Parliament, out of 120. One DUI representative voted from an external location after he was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Opposed were 51 representatives. A total of 115 members of Parliament were present at the vote. After the vote, the representatives of VMRO-DPMNE, the largest party in Parliament, left the building, while Zaev and his ministers remained to give the oath of office.
The Government is made up of SDSM, DUI, BESA, DPA and a host of smaller parties allied with Zaev. It includes Zaev as Prime Minister and Artan Grubi from DUI as First Deputy Prime Minister – a novel position which is likely to give Grubi the right to co-decide on major executive decisions. Zaev’s chief confidants in the Government include Ljupco Nikolovski as Deputy Prime Minister charged with fighting corruption and Oliver Spasovski as Interior Minister. Stip Mayor Blagoja Bocvarski is the new Transportation Minister and Zaev’s foreign policy adviser Bojan Maricic is Justice Minister and his economic adviser Fatmir Bitiqi is Deputy Prime Minister. Radmila Sekerinska, from the rival “urban wing” of SDSM, remains as Defense Minister and Nikola Dimitrov replaces the office of Foreign Minister with that of Deputy Prime Minister for EU affairs, the position previously held by Bujar Osmani from DUI, who will be the next Foreign Minister.
DUI rounds up its powerful positions in the new Government by assuming the Finance Ministry (Fatmir Besimi) and the Public Administration Ministry (Jeton Sakiri) which will give the party virtual control over public sector hiring. DUI also holds Economy (Kresnik Bektesi) and Environment (Naser Nuredini)
Other positions going to the “urban wing” of SDSM include Education for the far left activist Mila Carovska, Healthcare (Venko Filipce) and Culture (Irena Stefoska). Zaev had Jagoda Sahpaska replace Carovska as Labour and Welfare Minister.
Arijanit Hoxha from the small BESA party that was allied with SDSM in the elections is the new Agriculture Minister and Goran Milevski from the Liberal-Democratic Party will lead the department of cooperation with municipalities.