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News 09 Nov 15

Macedonia’s New 'Opposition' Ministers to Take Oaths

As Macedonia’s new interim ministers from the ranks of the opposition prepare to swear their oaths this week, BIRN looks at their biographies.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje
Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski had to accept interim ministers from the ranks of the opposition in his government | Photo by: Macedonian Government

After several breached deadlines, Macedonia’s warring parties on Friday reached an agreement on the appointment of several interim ministers and deputies from the ranks of the opposition.

The appointments were envisaged in the EU-brokered crisis agreement reached this summer that foresees several reforms being undertaken before early elections in April.

To ensure that Nikola Gruevski’s ruling VMRO DPMNE party cannot rig the April elections, the opposition led by the Social Democrats won the right to appoint the new Interior Minister as well as the new Minister of Social Policy and Labour.

The opposition will also appoint a new deputy Finance Minister, a deputy Information Society and Administration Minister and a deputy Agriculture Minister.

The most important of these positions is the Interior Ministry, which will be run by Oliver Spasovski, the opposition Social Democrats' secretary general.

Spasovski is a law graduate from Macedonia's state law faculty. He started his career in 2000 as an intern in a lawyer's firm. From 2001 to 2005, he was advisor to the mayor of the northeastern town of Kumanovo. From 2008 to 2011 he was secretary general of Kumanovo municipality.

Spasovski served two four-year terms as an MP from the Social Democrats, from 2006 to 2014, before assuming the post of secretary general in the party. His biography notes that he speaks English and French.

Frosina Remenski, the Social Democrats' vice president, will be leading the Ministry of Social Policy and Labour, which the opposition has been pinpointing as a vital arena for the ruling party to engage in blackmailing voters in elections.

Remenski holds a PhD from Skopje state university and specialized in international law and minority rights. From 2000 to 2003, she was assistant at the university’s Institute of Sociology before she transferred to the Police Academy, today’s Security Science Faculty, where she teaches as a professor.

Remenski’s biography, published on the Social Democrats' website, says she has published over 70 published scientific studies and researches in prominent scientific magazines.

The new deputy Finance Minister, Kire Naumov, is a known critic of Gruevski’s economic policies. He ran for the leadership of the Social Democrats in 2013 but lost to Zoran Zaev.

Naumov has an MA from the economics faculty in Belgrade. In 2003-2004 he was economic advisor to the then Prime Minister, Branko Crvenkovski. He resumed the same role after Crvenkovski became president in 2004. Between 2006 and 2007 he headed the National Intelligence Agency.

As a deputy minister, Naumov will have a key role in monitoring public spending for the April snap elections. He will have the right to veto the Finance Miniser’s decisions related to financial personnel and legal issues linked to the organization of the elections.

Aleksandar Kiracovski, another deputy president of the Social Democrats, will be the deputy Minister for Information Society and Administration.

The opposition insisted on having a say in this ministry, which manages Macedonia’s cumbersome and - according to the European Commission - politicized public administration.

His official biography states that he has an MA in Political leadership from the private University for Tourism and Management.

Since 2011 Kiracovski he has worked at the Foundation – Business Startup Centre in the town of Bitola. He has been member of the Social Democrats since 2001.

Ljupco Nikolovski, the new deputy Agriculture Minister, has the shortest available biography. A law graduate, he works at a business management and consulting firm. Nikolovski is a member of the Social Democrats' central board.

The agriculture ministry, to which Nikolovski is appointed, has been mentioned as another tool in the hands of the government, which has been allegedly used it for the selective issue of subsidies to farmers as another form of pressure prior to and during elections.

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