Shortly after US Ambassador to Macedonia Jess Baily seemingly condemned the high profile arrests and detentions of former VMRO-DPMNE officials, the Special Prosecutors Office (SPO) demanded that its most important political prisoners are released from detention.

Based on an SPO request, the court ordered the release of former Transportation Minister Mile Janakieski, former Government Secretary General Kiril Bozinovski, former UBK secret police chief Saso Mijalkov, one of the richest people in the country Orce Kamcev and Cvetan Pandeleski – owner of the Pelisterka company.

According to initial reports, other high profile SPO defendants are expected to be released as well. Janakieski and Bozinovski were detained the day after former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski requested political asylum in Budapest, even though they were in full compliance with the court orders put in place to secure their presence at hearings. Mijalkov was arrested as part of an SPO investigation in a large business network including Kamcev and Pandeleski.

Reports of their release come as one round of amnesties are being processed, while another is being prepared in Parliament. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, who was insisting there will be no amnesty for former VMRO-DPMNE officials, sheepishly acknowledged that he doesn’t have 81 votes in Parliament needed to amend the Constitution and rename Macedonia into North Macedonia, and acknowledged that court cases will have to be dropped in exchange for securing the votes.