Zoran Zaev today announced the details of his purge of the Government, and the most notable change is that he himself will be assuming the position of Finance Minister, removing Dragan Tevdovski from this post.
Other ministers who will be getting replaced include mostly less important departments, such as the Environment Ministry, where Sadula Duraku will make way for Naser Nuredini and the Municipal Administration ministry where Suhejl Fazliu will be replaced with Goran Milevski.
Duraku – better known as “Commander Ventili” – the UCK commander who closed the valves distributing water to the city of Kumanovo during the 2001 Albanian insurgency, will not leave the Government – he will head the newly formed Ministry for Political System and Inter-Ethnic Relations. This position he will assume from another UCK/NLA commander Hazbi Lika, who led the Government department for implementation of the 2001 Ohrid peace treaty, which is being elevated into a full ministry.
Two vacant seats in the Government are also being filled. Trajan Dimkovski will be the new Agriculture Minister – after his predecessor Ljupco Nikolovski was appointed Secretary General of the SDSM party. Husni Ismaili, a rheumatology expert, will be named the next Culture Minister, after Asaf Ademi resigned due to outcry over his reallocation of funding away from Macedonian cultural projects and toward Albanian ones.
Finally, Zoran Sapurik is being removed as a minister in charge of economic investments. Sapurik is from the Liberal-Democratic Party and his removal appears to be part of a deal to get party leader Goran Milevski appointed as Municipal Administration Minister.
Zaev promised a “purge” after the poor results of the presidential elections. He removed about a 100 party officials, starting with Secretary General Aleksandar Kiracovski and his powerful adviser Mile Zecevik. The changes in the Government, though, were protracted and apparently sparked infighting between the various wings of the SDSM party. The one major casualty, Finance Minister Tevdovski, was rumored to be a target of the Skopje wing of the SDSM party, and at one point Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska, who is seen as the leader of this wing, denied that she is working to have him removed. The ministers in charge of economic departments were frequently criticized because of their overall failure to spur the economy, and Zaev today said that his decision to expand his direct control over the Finance Ministry reflects his interest to focus on the economy.
It is expected that the proposals for this reconstruction will be sent before Parliament early next week.