The Parliament voted with 63 votes in favor of advancing the latest version of Zoran Zaev’s law on state prosecutors under an expedited procedure. Opposed to the motion were 32 members of Parliament.

The draft PPO law will now be sent before the European Affairs Committtee of the Parliament for approval, and if approved, back before the full house, where it will need 81 votes to pass. It’s unclear how quickly the Parliament will push the proposal – the ruling SDSM party is in a hurry to adopt the law which critics say is tailor made to shield its leader Zoran Zaev from a serious investigation into his many corruption scandals. Zaev spent the last few days courting loose members of Parliament, especially those from a group of bribed and blackmailed representatives he used to impose the name change in early 2019. But not all of them were declaring their readiness to vote for this proposal, indicating that furious haggling is going on in the background.

Two ethnic Albanian opposition parties also joined the main opposition party VMRO-DPMNE in its criticism of the law and they avoided the vote this evening. Some of the so-called “gang of eight” of bribed former VMRO-DPMNE representatives also voted against the proposal to expedite the law, or abstained from the vote.

A version of the law was proposed this morning, after being approved by the Government yesterday evening, but it was withdrawn after day long secret negotations during which even SDSM coalition partner DUI had misgivings. Justice Minister Renata Deskoska insisted that the law contained some “minor technical issues” and had to be withdrawn. One of the changes that will be introduced in the new version is that ethnic Albanian parties will have veto over the appointment of the next organized crime prosecutor.

The assistants made technical errors and when they were noted, an order was sent out that they are corrected, Deskoska said, trying to explain the chaotic situation in the Parliament.

Antonio Milososki from VMRO-DPMNE called the new proposal a forgery. The law is being proposed by the Government, but Milososki observed that the Government didn’t have time to meet and approve this new version. He warned Speaker Talat Xhaferi that he is violating the law when he allows an obviously forged draft bill to be sent before the Parliament.

Ilija Dimovski from VMRO noted that the law will go into delayed effect of four and a half months, and will only begin to be implemented in the summer. This clause adds to the impression that Zaev is making sure he doesn’t face any kind of criminal scrutiny until well after the April 12 elections.

Why the need to adopt this law urgently, under the expedited procedure in Parliament, if it has a delayed effect? This is all proof that chaos reigns and that some politicians are in a hurry to pass a law only to protect themselves, Dimovski said.