• Saturday, 20 July 2024

Parliament passes bill on reorganizing government with 88 votes for, 22 against

Parliament passes bill on reorganizing government with 88 votes for, 22 against

Skopje, 8 June 2024 (MIA) — Parliament passed late last night the draft amendments to the Law on the Organization and Operations of State Administration Bodies with 88 votes for and 22 against, creating the conditions for VMRO-DPMNE, Worth It and ZNAM to form a new government headed by prime minister-designate Hristijan Mickoski.


In addition to VMRO-DPMNE, Worth It and ZNAM MPs voting for the bill, it received the votes of the DUI-led European Front lawmakers as well.


Earlier on Friday night, VMRO-DPMNE and the European Front announced in a press release they had reached an agreement on supporting the amendments as well as on the establishment of an ad hoc parliamentary committee on fair representation of all ethnic communities in state administration bodies.


During the debate on the bill, SDSM lawmakers warned that the proposed reorganization of the government ministries and the state administration was not a reform but a politically motivated endeavor to meet the needs of the new government coalition. They pointed out that the amendments were altering 31 articles of the law without any heed to the financial implications, any analysis and any real parliamentary debate.


According to SDSM MP Slavjanka Petrovska, the new parliamentary majority could not have started their work with a more humiliating defeat.


"You went back on your word three times in ten days," Petrovska said. She read VMRO-DPMNE and DUI's European Front press release in support of the bill, contrasting it to several statements VMRO-DPMNE's Mickoski speaking against DUI and SDSM.


"After today's coalition," she said, referring to VMRO-DPMNE's agreement with DUI, "the question arises as to who is sitting in whose lap," Petrovska said.


DUI's parliamentary group coordinator Blerim Bexheti offered an explanation of their decision to vote for the amendments.


"Mickoski's proposal to transfer competences from one institution to another may have a logic of efficiency," Bexheti said, adding that "such an intrusion should be given serious consideration, but we will leave this to time as to whether this efficiency will be achieved."


He said VMRO-DPMNE had addressed DUI's concerns regarding the Albanian language inspectorate and other institutions' competences under this law and agreed to create an ad hoc committee on fair representation.


Levica MP Amar Mecinovikj pointed out that no experts or members of academia were consulted on changing the law.


"You are acting as if you have a mandate from God and not from the people. You are fast tracking everything so you can begin repaying your debts to the elites you owe," Mecinovikj said.


He said the people needed fewer government ministries, and it was illogical to merge labor issues with the economy. "This is a mirror of your authoritarianism," he said.


Levica's MP Dimitar Apasiev commented that the amendments were rushed and had not been carefully considered.


"This is a systemic law and needs a two-thirds majority to adopt it. The procedure is necessarily complex in nature," he said. "I don't know why you are rushing this law. You have twenty days to form a government."


He noted that five new ministries were to be introduced, but at least four of the proposed 20 ministries were unnecessary.


The unnecessary ones, acccording to Apasiev, were the Ministry of European Affairs, the Ministry of Local Self-Government, the Ministry of Digital Transformation, and the Ministry of Sports. He also said he was surprised the future government was doing away with inspectorates.


Apasiev said Levica would vote against the amendments because VMRO-DPMNE had not accepted their proposal to change the current electoral system into the country becoming a single electoral unit instead of being divided in six.


PM-designate Mickoski, who had submitted the bill on reorganizing the state administration bodies to Parliament, was given 20 days to assemble a new government on June 6. He said he would form the new government before the deadline expired. mr/