The meeting between Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski yesterday evening failed. The two were discussing the law on state prosecutors until deep into the night, but could not agree on the principles of the issue or on the personnel choices.

Zaev, who already appointed the OJO/PPO chief Public Prosecutor Ljubomir Joveski, demanded to have another loyalist Vilma Ruskoska as head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office. This would’ve ensured that his intense campaign of political persecution of the opposition can continue despite the major corruption scandal that brought down Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva.

The opposition side insisted that having Ruskoska at the helm of the SPO would mean direct Government interference in the judiciary and would shield Zaev for any responsibility for his crimes perpetrated in office. It would also pardon all those involved in Janeva’s racketeering scandal, VMRO-DPMNE sources say was their position during the meeting.

Pro-Government sources briefing the press acknowledged that the main sticking point was the fact that VMRO-DPMNE insisted on tasking the next Special Prosecutor to investigate allegations of corruption against officials of the ruling SDSM party and not only go after opposition officials, as Janeva did. The opposition also wanted to have the next Special Prosecutor be an actual heir to the SPO office and carry on working on the cases initiated by Janeva, while Zaev demanded that these cases are given to OJO and Joveski, which would allow him to continue persecuting VMRO-DPMNE officials with the highly partisan charges initiated by Janeva since 2015.