VMRO-DPMNE officials Timco Mucunski and Vladimir Misajlovski met today with three top officials from the ZNAM party – Goran Mincev, Vesna Bendevska and Pavle Arsoski.

This is the first formal meeting between the two parties, who are expected to form a coalition. The urgency for VMRO to include ZNAM in the coalition has dropped off after VMRO leader Hristijan Mickoski announced that he already has 61 seats, hinting at defectors from other parties. VMRO talks with the Albanian VLEN coalition are also progressing well, a likely line-up of the next Government already being leaked to the public. The meeting took place in the ZNAM offices.

If ZNAM joins the coalition with VMRO and VLEN, Mickoski could count on over 80 seats in Parliament. This would allow him to reorganize the Government, adding new departments and abolishing or dividing existing ones. ZNAM split from the SDSM party, bringing party members and officials who were unhappy with the party’s weak position on the dispute with Bulgaria and constant concessions to the Albanian coalition partners. The party has 6 seats in Parliament, while VMRO has 58 (and up to 61 as its leader claims) and VLEN have 14.

The new Parliament will convene on May 28th and no later than three days after we will know some contours of the coalition between VMRO and VLEN, since a new Speaker will have to be elected. It is widely rumored that this role will go to one of the parties from the VLEN coalition, probably to Afrim Gashi, who is leader of the Alternative party.