Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi said that it is not necessary for Macedonia to adopt a law on the army, if it wants to join NATO. In a press briefing, Xhaferi said that the NATO accession is proceeding regardless of the law.

The law is one of the dozens that have clogged the work of the Parliament, which is supposed to dissolve on February 11th, after it appoints a new technical Government on January 3rd, so that elections can be held in April. Now the ruling SDSM party, which is down in the polls, says it may postpone the elections if this and a number of other laws, such as several bills that increase pensions and public sector salaries, are adopted before the vote. The opposition VMRO-DPMNE party says it will support the vote, but only if it drops the renaming of the Macedonian Army into a Northmacedonian Army.

There are no consequences if the defense law is not adopted. The law only goes into effect after we join NATO, Xhaferi said.

Asked whether it is possible that the elections are postponed, Xhaferi said that until the Parliament is dissolved on February 11th, everything is possible. The agreement to hold elections on April 12th was reached at a meeting of the leaders of major parties in October, after Macedonia was denied the opening of EU accession talks.