Macedonian PM rejects opposition demand for interim gov.

REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev refused on Thursday the request by the opposition VMRO-DPMNE for a 100-day interim government ahead of looming early general elections, the Beta news agency reported.

Zaev also rejected their demands for a new state prosecutor and an inquiry commission for a probe into the last Sunday’s referendum on the name agreement with Greece.

Earlier on Thursday, VMRO – DPMNE, Macedonian nationalist opposition party, said that following Sundays’ failed referendum, the Skopje – Athens agreement was “dead” and demanded that an interim government was formed ahead of early general elections expected in November.

Zaev reiterated he would hold a meeting with the opposition deputies in the next few days about their possible support of the deal he made in June with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to change the former Yugoslav country’s name into North Macedonia.

“I believe that we will have some result by the end of this or the beginning of the next week. We have a deadline by October 10 to tell the people what the next steps will be. I hope we will be able to tell them that we have secured the two-thirds majority in the parliament,” Zaev said in the Macedonian town of Ohrid.

He said that would be good for Macedonia since the country wouldn’t lose months, but that in any case there was a chance for early elections.

The Sunday’s referendum failed to attract enough voters mostly due to the VMRO-DPMNE call for a boycott. Those who voted overwhelmingly supported the agreement.

The referendum is not legally binding, so the ball is thrown to the parliament where Zaev’s coalition has 71 deputies, nine short of the two-thirds majority of 80 needed for the constitutional changes that would enable further processes to be passed.

On Wednesday, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party called on its Macedonian sister organisation to support the June deal and thus open the country the doors to Euro-Atlantic integration.