Prime Minister Zoran Zaev acknowledged that he still doesn’t have the necessary two thirds majority in Parliament to pass the amendments meant to rename Macedonia into North Macedonia, and admitted that the amnesty law was introduced to help him get the votes.

I expect to pay a political price for this, at the elections. Citizens say what they think in elections. It is true that we are having the amnesty for the benefit of the constitutional amendments. The profile of the law is such that it amnesties members of Parliament and the artists. Durlovski went in the Parliament and sang the national anthem. Should he be sentenced to 20 years in prison? But the law is also there to facilitate reconciliation, said Zaev.

Prosecutors affiliated with his Government filed charges against 15 members of Parliament from the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party, five of them being charged over the incident in the Parliament on April 27th 2017. Eight of the members of Parliament switched party lines at the beginning of the constitutional amendments process in October and voted to begin the process, in open anticipation that in return they will receive pardons for this or other cases. But Zaev now says that the deal is still not complete and that some of them may still change their minds, especially as the amnesty is still not complete.

Meanwhile, some of the other political prisoners, like world acclaimed opera singer Igor Durlovski, refused to submit a request for amnesty. Durlovski said that he will fight for his principles in court.