MPs of the ruling party SDSM and its junior coalition partners on Wednesday are both consulting and collecting signatures involving an initiative on reconvening Parliament, which dissolved in February.
The initiative calls on the Parliament Speaker to schedule a session where MPs should uphold decisions declaring 30-day state of emergency in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to SDSM MPs, the Speaker can schedule a session after 20 MP signatures have been collected in line with Article 67 of the Parliament’s Rules of Procedures, which reads: “The President of the Assembly may convene a session upon a request of the President, the government or at least 20 members of the Assembly.”
Under the Constitution, “the term of office of the Representatives of the Assembly can be extended only during state of war or emergency.”
“The SDSM parliamentary group believes that Parliament should be functional after all conditions regulated by the Constitution have been met. Our objective is to attempt once again ensuring Parliament is reconvened to uphold (President) Pendarovski’s decisions and functional if needs arises for declaring again state of emergency in the future. We are consulting with other parliamentary groups, too. The motion on reconvening Parliament will be sent to the President of the Parliament by tomorrow at the latest,” said Jovan Mitroski, coordinator of the SDSM parliamentary group.
If a session is scheduled, he said, all recommendations of the health authorities will be respected, including two-meter physical distance.
Earlier, PM Oliver Spasovski said it would be ‘a good thing’ for Parliament to function and MPs to be ‘equal to the task’ in Parliament.
“I’ve said this before – I believe Parliament can convene, because both the Electoral Code and the Law on Parliament say the MPs have a mandate until new representatives are elected. We, the caretaker government, want to have a functioning legislative house,” Spasovski told Slobodna TV’s Morning Briefing show on Wednesday.
Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi has said he cannot convene ‘a Parliament that has been dissolved.’ Xhaferi will say what he thinks about the initiative after the MPs send it to him, his office said.
VMRO-DPMNE will not back the initiative, opposition MPs say. According to them, the initiative has been launched by former lawmakers.
“Any step that is not in line with what has been agreed and accepted by the political leaders at their latest meeting constitutes unilateral violation of the principle of political consensus,” VMRO-DPMNE said.
Macedonia’s Parliament dissolved on February 16 ahead of the early parliamentary election, which originally was slated for April 12. The polls were postponed after the outbreak of COVID-19.