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President Pendarovski says no need to extend state of emergency

President Stevo Pendarovski in Friday's address to the nation said he will not extend the state of emergency. Its extension is not directly linked to the elections, according to him. Pendarovski urged the leaders of the political parties to agree on an election date, because the country could be pushed into a deep political crisis if elections are not inclusive.

Skopje, 12 June 2020 (MIA) – President Stevo Pendarovski in Friday’s address to the nation said he will not extend the state of emergency.

Its extension is not directly linked to the elections, according to him. Pendarovski urged the leaders of the political parties to agree on an election date, because the country could be pushed into a deep political crisis if elections are not inclusive.

“In recent days, the dilemma arose of whether it is possible to introduce a state of emergency only at the request of the government or the President can declare a state of emergency himself, without the government’s proposal. In that regard, the Constitution is clear, the Head of State can declare a state of emergency without a request from the government. However, I have never done that because I have been and still am convinced that in no political context can any institution isolate other institutions in making serious decisions.
Therefore, given the reasons why I declared all previous emergencies, I do not think it is necessary to declare a new state of emergency at this time,” said Pendarovski.

According to the government’s information, he noted, sufficient quantities of medical and protective equipment have been provided and economic measures have been adopted to support the national economy. “Thus, the government did not submit a formal request for a new state of emergency this time.”

“Here, I would like to stress that the comparisons made between the previous emergencies and the number of infected and deceased at that time and the current numbers of infected and deceased are unfounded, because, I said and I repeat, no state of emergency was introduced for those reasons,” the President said.

For measures such as the curfew, quarantine or crisis situation in part or in the whole territory, according to Pendarovski, there is legislation and there is no need to introduce a state of emergency for those measures to be applied.

“Another misconception spread in the public, intentionally or unintentionally, is that the state of emergency has to do with the election. Let me be clear: elections can be organized during a state of emergency. The government may, if it wants, to write in the decree where it stands – after the end of the state of emergency, the election deadlines continue to flow – the election deadlines continue during the state of emergency,” he said addressing the nation.

Elections, Pendarovski stressed, are necessary to elect a functioning parliament and a legal and legitimate government to replace the caretaker government. “I know that most of our citizens do not think of elections at a time when there is an increase in the number of infections, but elections, in the time of coronavirus that will not go away soon, are necessary to have a functioning, rather than a dissolved parliament, and legal and legitimate, instead of a technical government,” he said.

The President added he had been in communication with the party leaders in the countrt and the strategic partners from the international community.

“The government and the opposition agree that there must be OSCE/ODIHR monitoring mission in the elections. The government and the opposition agree that the State Election Commission, in cooperation with the Commission for Infectious Diseases, should develop special protocols for the citizens to feel safe while casting votes at the polling stations as well as the election board members and domestic and foreign observers. Unfortunately, the government and the opposition have not significantly approached their views on election date,” President Pendarovski said.

Organizing elections that are not inclusive, according to him, poses a potential risk leading to unfavorable developments.

“We know that our society has been extremely polarized for years, on different grounds; hate speech deepens the differences along political, ethnic, religious and party lines. We have been in a complex health crisis since March due to the pandemic. Because the Assembly has been dissolved, and we have an insufficiently developed norm for emergencies, there are initial elements of a constitutional and legal crisis. If we fail to agree on a transparent and inclusive election process, it would mean entering a deep political crisis. If we look at the wider region in which we find ourselves and the attempts to destabilize it through hybrid threats and fake news, we cannot rule out that a possible legal and political crisis could turn into a security crisis, too,” Pendarovski warned.

He called on the leaders of the two largest parties in the country – SDSM’s Zoran Zaev and VMRO-DPMNE’s Hristijan Mickoski – to meet today to find a solution by putting state interests above personal and party interests. “Otherwise, we will only open the door to an even greater internal crisis, and not only will we question our European perspective, but more importantly, we will undermine our efforts to deal with the pandemic which require clear state consensus and stable institutions,” Pendarovski stated.

Crises of such magnitude in the world, he said, often result in the unification of people around common goals and values.

“There is no single reason for this crisis in our country to be a source of new divisions that we have experienced throughout our history far too many times,” President Pendarovski said in his speech.

North Macedonia’s President declared four states of emergency – two 30-day states of emergency and two lasting 14 days.

The first state of emergency was declared on March 18. The fourth state of emergency was declared on May 30 and it ends Saturday (June 13).

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