World Bulletin / News Desk
The European Union on Thursday urged Macedonia's president to reverse his decision to refuse the opposition leader a mandate to form a government even though he enjoys a parliamentary majority.
"I asked the president to reflect on the way forward, to reverse his decision in the interest of all citizens in this country," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters after meeting President Gjorge Ivanov in Skopje.
The Macedonian constitution states that the president should "entrust the mandate to a candidate belonging to the parties which have a majority in the assembly", she noted.
"This is the constitution of this country and we expect the constitution to be respected."
Ivanov on Wednesday said he would not grant opposition chief Zoran Zaev a mandate, claiming his government would support "a platform undermining Macedonia's sovereignty".
The president, who has accused neighbouring Albania of trying to influence political developments across the border, referred to minority ethnic Albanian parties' decision to back Zaev if he accepted their controversial demand to make Albanian an official language across Macedonia.
Ivanov's move deepened a two-year long political crisis and prompted concern from US ambassador Jess Baily, who tweeted that Macedonia was "moving away from principles of democracy and (the) rule of law" as well as "core NATO values".
Zaev had on Monday presented Ivanov with signatures showing support from 67 members of the 120-seat parliament, following weeks of negotiations after an inconclusive election in December.
Ivanov had earlier said he would grant Zaev a mandate if he won enough backing.
He remained defiant in a statement released after the meeting with Mogherini.
"Citizens voted in the election for European reforms and not for a post-election platform of a foreign state," Ivanov said.
He called on the EU to "publicly denounce interfering in Macedonia's internal affairs and confirm the inviolability of borders in the Balkans".
Ethnic Albanians make up about 25 percent of Macedonia's two million people.
Following a seven-month ethnic Albanian rebels' insurgency, the internationally-brokered Ohrid agreement in 2001 provided greater rights for the minority, including power-sharing and official status for the language in areas where they make up at least 20 percent of the population.
Ethnic Albanian parties, which emerged as the kingmaker after the last polls, have met Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and created a joint platform with demands, including making Albanian an official language.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Mart 2017, 09:07