Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi blamed SDSM member of Parliament Muhamed Zekiri for the chaotic end of the Parliament session on Sunday evening, when Xhaferi adjourned before putting to vote the proposal to strip yet another opposition member of Parliament of his immunity. The target this time was Trajko Veljanoski, who was ousted as Speaker and replaced by Xhaferi by the SDSM – DUI coalition in April 2017, and who now faces arrest on politically motivated charges.
Xhaferi said that, due to the way Parliament adjourned yesterday and the fact that the deadline to decide on Veljanoski’s immunity within three days after receiving the court request, he will not put the proposal to a vote again and will notify the court that Veljanoski is not stripped of his immunity.
Xhaferi said that Zekiri and other members of Parliament broke the order and prevented the Parliament to work properly, and that this is the reason why he didn’t let the vote go forward.
SDSM members of Parliament like Muhamed Zekiri, Aleksandar Kiracovski and Pavle Bogoevski today condemned the decision by Xhaferi to end the session without putting Veljanoski’s immunity up for a vote. Zekiri, who leads SDSM efforts to undermine the share of the Albanian vote received by Xhaferi’s DUI party, was especially outspoken in his criticism evoking even the Muslim Prophet Muhamed in his criticism. The public spat raised the issue of divisions in the SDSM – DUI coalition, especially at a time when the two parties are trying to come up with a joint presidential candidate.
SDSM targetted Veljanoski as the next victim in its campaign against officials from the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party. Veljanoski was charged with allegedly organizing the incident which began on April 27th 2017, when protesters burst into the Parliament after the SDSM and DUI parties staged an irregular vote to replace Veljanoski and appoint Xhaferi as the next Speaker. The case has been used by SDSM to file terrorism charges against a number of VMRO members of Parliament, who were later blackmailed with the charges until they agreed to vote to rename Macedonia into North Macedonia.
Veljanoski faced being sent to the Shutka prison, where a group of actual terrorists were making death threats against him and all other VMRO officials who face arrest. Last Thursday, the group attacked two former Ministers Mile Janakieski and Spiro Ristovski, who were charged along with Janakieski.