North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, who announced his resignation over poor results in a local vote last month, will stay on in the job until the political situation stabilises, media reported on Wednesday (10 November).
Zaev’s ruling SDSM party made the decision on Tuesday night, reacting to a no-confidence motion in the government filed by opposition parties led by the centre-right VMRO-DPMNE.
VMRO-DPMNE has said that it and other opposition parties had secured the 61 votes in the 120-seat parliament to bring the government down.
But media reports say this thin majority is far from certain.
Zaev told media that he would respect his party’s decision.
“I expect the democratic majority to stabilise, especially the majority that is for the EU, for a multiethnic society,” he was quoted by Kanal 5 television as saying.
Zaev, who also quit as head of the SDSM party over its defeat in mayoral elections in towns, including the capital Skopje, had said the ruling coalition could pick a new prime minister without the need for a new general election.
But he did not formally submit his resignation to parliament.
His Social Democrats led an alliance that squeaked to a narrow victory ahead of VMRO-DPMNE in a parliamentary election last year.
Zaev first became prime minister in 2017 and put the country on a path towards EU membership.
Under the so-called Prespa Agreement, sealed in 2018 by Zaev and former Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Macedonia was renamed North Macedonia.
Now that Kyriakos Misotakis replaced Tsipras, the Greek parliament continues to delay the adoption of three memoranda signed between Greece and North Macedonia as part of the Prespa Agreement.
Hristijan Mickovski, the leader of VMRO-DPMNE, has said he would never use the country’s new name (North Macedonia) although he says he recognises the Prespa Agreement.