President Stevo Pendarovski revealed to the public that Macedonia does not have the resources necessary to impose a crisis situation cross the entire country. So far the municipalities of Debar and Centar Zupa, which are under quarantine, had a crisis situation officially declared there and the police is manning checkpoints preventing people from leaving. The main parties are disputing whether to have a crisis situation across the whole country to manage the coronavirus epidemic, or a state of emergency.
Let me illustrate what kind of resources we are talking about. There are 350 police, soldiers and healthcare people in Debar and Centar Zupa, which have 15.000 registered citizens and in reality have 10.000 people because of emigration. It is not possible to have the same situation imposed on all 80 municipalities, Pendarovski said. On Sunday he rejected the proposal to declare either a state-wide crisis or a state of emergency, which were proposed by VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM respectively.
Pendarovski opened the prospect of imposing a crisis situation in the capital Skopje, though, which has about a third of Macedonia’s total population. But at the moment, with three dozen confirmed coronavirus cases across the country, there is no need to do so, Pendarovski said. He warned that Macedonia could potentially have up to 2.000 patients.
Meanwhile, legal experts nominated by the main parties met in Pendarovski’s office yesterday to discuss ways to postpone the elections that were supposed to take place on April 12. There was no conclusive decision reached yesterday, given that it would mean adding another precedent to the violation that was already done in 2016 when a dissolved Parliament was reconvened. Participants at the meeting said that the discussion was actually focused on the issue of declaring a state of emergency versus a crisis situation. Pendarovski’s office said that the discussion over how to postpone the elections will continue in the coming days.