SDSM would not accept the mandates, Macedonia in a middle of a legal vacuum

The SDSM Executive Board on its yesterday session unanimously recommended non-acceptance of the SDSM mandates. The Central Board shall discuss this decision tonight.

“The decision for non-acceptance of mandates was adopted unanimously. The Executive Board has the capacity to recommend only, whilst the official decision, which I can freely tell that is already known, shall be adopted tonight by the Central Board”, said Petre Shilegov, SDSM spokesperson.

SDSM submitted some 170 complaints on election irregularities to the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption and to the Public Prosecution Office.

“We never received any reply on one part of the complaints, and another part of them was rejected”, Shilegov says.

The State Election Commission and the Administrative Court already rejected 20,000 complaints submitted by the opposition, despite the fact that they contained serious suspicions for bribery during the election process, pressures on administration staff, as well as other irregularities.

Due to such reasons, as Shilegov says, this time complaints were submitted to the institutions responsible for combating corruption, as SDSM did not recognise the election process and considers that the complaints submitted to SEC would not have the same effect.

The State Election Commission, up to until last night has received two objections from DUI, four from GROM and six from DPA on the voting procedure, and should the parties be unsatisfied with the SEC response, they hold the right to lodge appeal to the Administrative Court, which is expected to reply within 48 hours.

There are various views on the newly-created situation, on what shall happen in the coming period on the political scene, particularly the legal aspect of it, having in mind the vagueness in legislation. This is the first time for Macedonia to confront a situation of non-acceptance of parliamentarians’ mandates. The Administrative Law Professor Bajram Polozhani says that the SDSM’s non-acceptance of mandates, speaking from the formal legal aspect shall have no meaning, but in practice, this shall imply one-party system, instead of parliamentary democracy.

“SEC validated the elections, and the Constitution prescribes that the Assembly should be composed within 20 days. Even if SDSM does not accept the mandates, the Assembly shall however be able to function, knowing that it already has a majority of seats. Should the Assembly decide and is willing, it may opt for supplementary elections. It is difficult to expect this, which implies that, despite the non-acceptance of mandates by SDSM, the possibility will be there to compose the Government. And now, the issue is completely different how legitimate will this be, as in that case, we would have a one-party system. Technical government is out of question, as conditions already exist for establishment of the Government”, Pollozhani says.

If we take the non-acceptance of mandates, the Assembly shall function with 89 parliamentarians instead of 123, a situation when this has utter effect on the political scene. If SDSM refuses to accept mandates would be one situation, and if they decide to return the mandates, is a completely different situation. The first situation is completely unfamiliar for the Macedonian legal system, and the second is very clear – supplementary elections would be scheduled only for the vacant parliament seats.

“If we interpret the law thoroughly, SEC shall have to offer mandates continuously, that is, once they have reached the end of the list, they should start all over. The Legal Code prescribes that scheduling supplementary elections for the vacant parliament seats, but only should the grounds be exhausted for obtaining a mandate, and that would be applied in case of resignation of a parliament member, imprisonment of a parliament member for longer than five years, deprivation from capability to work. Yet, a situation was never mentioned of verification of a mandate due to non-recognition of election results”, the Professor Renata Deskovska told the media.

In light of the above mentioned, and without the parliament members, the Assembly shall be made operational. However, the Constitution does not recognise a situation of non-acceptance of mandates. Once SEC will have shared the decisions with the parliament members, and should they decide not to attend a session, the mandates will be neither verified, nor rejected.

Experts say that because of this a legal gap occurs, which should be regulated by the Law on Assembly or on the Rulebook.

Meri Jordanovska

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