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News 12 Jun 13

Macedonia Parties Agree Political Crisis Probe Commission

Party leaders have belatedly reached a deal to appoint a law professor to head a commission of inquiry into last year's bitter dispute in parliament that sparked a political crisis.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje

Borce Davitkovski

The Macedonian government and the opposition announced late Tuesday that they had chosen Borce Davitkovski, a dean at the Skopje state law faculty, to head the inquiry commission.

The commission, set up as part of an EU-brokered deal struck on March 1, will investigate events in the Macedonian parliament last December that caused a months-long political crisis.

“It is especially satisfactory that the compromise solution envisages the appointment of a home expert and a professor who is highly regarded by the public,” both government and opposition parties said in a statement published on Tuesday evening.

“This represents a basis for normalisation of political dialogue in Macedonia and a fresh boost to the EU integration process in the country,” the ruling VMRO DPMNE party of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and the opposition Social Democrats, SDSM, said in the joint statement.

The overdue appointment of the head of the commission came at the last moment, after media started speculating that Brussels was throwing its own names into the ring, unhappy about the failure of Macedonian leaders to elect its head on their own.

The deal came after Gruevski and the newly elected head of the opposition Social Democrats, Zoran Zaev, agreed last week to step up the stalled talks on forming the commission.

Both sides said they expected the work of the commission to be “effective” and for it to swiftly come up with its own conclusions regarding the “disputed events”.

The EU-brokered deal ended a political crisis that began on December 24, 2012, when  government parties passed a budget for 2013 within the space of a few minutes, after opposition MPs and journalists were expelled from the chamber.

Weeks of street protests followed, along with a boycott of parliament and an opposition threat to not participate in local elections.

Ever since the March deal that brought back the opposition to parliament, Brussels has been urging Macedonia's leaders to set up the commission in order to demonstrate that their country is ready to start EU accession talks.

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