The Government beat a retreat on the law on state prosecutors this afternoon. After announcing it has the necessary 81 votes yesterday evening, and asking for a Parliament session this afternoon, the law was withdrawn.
SDSM party leader Zoran Zaev, who put together a law that would ensure he doesn’t face criminal accountability for his numerous corruption scandals over the past three years, said that the law is a good basis to get to the necessary 81 votes. The head of the SDSM party in Parliament Jovan Mitreski echoed the position today, but two small Albanian parties, AA and BESA, joined VMRO-DPMNE in its opposition to the law. And finally even SDSM coalition partner DUI objected about changes being made to the law and said it will withdraw its support if the law is amended.
Furious meetings took place in the Parliament this afternoon, including reportedly between Zaev and DUI’s Ali Ahmeti, as well as Justice Minister Renata Deskoska and Speaker Talat Xhaferi. Deskoska even posted a picture of a puff of white smoke on her Facebook page yesterday evening, declaring that the law is adopted.
It’s not clear what happens next. Zaev used the law as an excuse to demand that the early elections, planned for April 12, are postponed. European Union states and the US have called for the adoption of a law, but some EU countries have also said that not just any law would do, and that it would have to be a quality reform. This comes after the spectacular collapse of the judiciary, evident in the Katica Janeva scandal and the growing in-fighting between top judges and prosecutors.
VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski pointed to numerous defects in the law and said that it would serve to again pardon Zaev for his criminal actions. Mickoski proposed that criminal law experts get together and quickly prepare a law that would be in line with European standards, promising that the opposition would support it.