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After a twelve hour discussion in the country's parliament, Macedonian lawmakers on late Friday supported the government led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.
With 42 votes in favour, 68 against and none in abstention, lawmakers in the 123 seat parliament didn't adopt the interpellation put forward by opposition Social Democrats.
The opposition Social Democrats filed the interpellation motion earlier this week hoping to reveal what they see as “a fake confrontation between the government partners... that jeopardizes the inter-ethnic relations" and the country’s integration towards EU and NATO.
Calling this an “insincere” motion aimed at “causing political instability”, the ruling majority made of Gruevski’s VMRO DPMNE and the junior ruling Albanian party, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI voted against it.
Previously the outcome of the vote was uncertain, as the Albanian DUI refused to say clearly before the session whether it will support the government.
The government crisis started in mid-August when the Defence Minister, Fatmir Besimi, an ethnic Albanian from the DUI party, laid flowers before a monument to Albanian guerilla fighters killed in the 2001 conflict in Slupcane, a village near the northern town of Kumanovo.
This act outraged many Macedonians, and President Gjorgje Ivanov and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski both criticized Besimi.
The crisis then intensified when the VMRO DPMNE soon after tendered the draft law on the miitary, prompting the DUI to threaten to leave the government.
The draft provides special rights to army and police veterans from the 2001 armed conflict but ignores the former Albanian insurgents whose leaders are now at the helm of DUI.
The opposition hoped to prove that the parties in power are faking the crisis in order justify early elections and win playing on the ethnic sentiment of their Macedonian and Albanian voters.
The differences with the DUI “are not faked” and “we are working to resolve them”, Prime Minister Gruevski said in his speech, right before the voting.
This is the first no-confidence vote against Gruevski’s current government that was formed after his party won the June 2011 snap polls.
Gruevski who is in power since 2006 today faces the second interpellation motion in his Prime Minister’s career. He survived the first one in June, 2007.
Whether or not the current crisis between the country’s two ruling parties is real or artificial, the denouement cannot be delayed for much longer.
Optimism about reform under the new government fades as the new team delays enacting the promised media strategy and takes effective control of the media through the familiar tactics of targeted advertising and hidden ownership.