The office of President Stevo Pendarovski announced that he will give the mandate to form the next Government to a candidate who will have majority in Parliament by Friday.

A majority in the narrowly divided Parliament has not been announced yet, and while Pendarovski’s political ally Zoran Zaev is working hard to secure a deal with DUI’s Ali Ahmeti, the two parties haven’t reached a deal yet. Once Pendarovski gives the mandate to a candidate, he or she would then have 20 days to propose a Government to Parliament for approval with at least 61 votes.

Pendarovski’s office said that they’ve consulted legal experts who believe that the Parliament is fully constituted and the deadline of 10 days after its constitution is about to expire. There were some misgivings about this issue as the outgoing Speaker Talat Xhaferi from DUI said that the Parliament is not constituted until a Speaker is elected. As this position is part of the talks between DUI and SDSM, it was left out from the first session held on August 4.

The President consulted eminent legal experts and the conclusion is clear – for a Parliament to be considered as constituted it only takes that the mandates of its members are verified, and it is not necessary for a Speaker to be elected. President Pendarovski understands the motives of Speaker Xhaferi, but remains firm in his position, Pendarovski’s office said. Xhaferi’s office didn’t send an official note informing Pendarovski that the Parliament is constituted, which might cause constitutional issues down the line that may have to be resolved by the Constitutional Court.

If the mandate holder fails to win majority in 20 days, the mandate is revoked and Pendarovski will give it again, with the Constitution giving him a certain amount of leeway as to how the term “majority” will be defined.

Meanwhile SDSM issued another press release, practically identical to the ones it issued each of the past several days, claiming that “Zaev will be the mandate holder and talks are on-going with DUI that will lead to the creation of a stable majority”.