- Language: English
- 24 Pages
- Published: March 2015
- Region: Mozambique
Country Report Macedonia
- ID: 2123793
- February 2015
- Region: Macedonia
- 28 Pages
- The Economist Intelligence Unit
The political scene has been thrown into uproar after Zoran Zaev, the leader of the main opposition Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (SDSM), was charged with espionage and making "violent threats to disrupt the constitutional order". The government-and media supporting it -have effectively accused Mr Zaev of blackmail and trying to mount a coup, while Mr Zaev, opposition media and some human rights groups claim that the government is using the criminal justice system to silence corruption allegations. With the country now gripped by conspiracy theories, the case is likely to keep the political scene in ferment, exacerbate political polarisation, generate a row over media freedom, distract political and media attention from other priorities and heighten Western concerns about the quality of politics and governance in the country.
In a special television address following Mr Zaev's arrest on January 31st, the prime minister, Nikola Gruevski, of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation-Democratic Party of Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE), announced that Mr Zaev had threatened in private meetings with him to publish incriminating material about senior government figures, gained from a foreign intelligence service from outside the region, unless the VMRO-DPMNE government were immediately replaced by a technocratic administration including the SDSM. Mr Gruevski said that Mr Zaev had made the threats in meetings with him between September and November 2014, during which Mr Zaev had played recordings of apparently wiretapped conversations, some of which were authentic and some faked, according to Mr Gruevski. On February 2nd, leaked video recordings were published on the Internet showing Mr Zaev indeed making such statements to Mr Gruevski, apparently in private in Mr Gruevski's office.
Three other people were charged in the case some days before Mr Zaev's brief arrest on January 31st. They include Zoran Verusevski, a former counterintelligence chief appointed during the SDSM's period in government before 2006, who has close ties to Mr Zaev's predecessor as SDSM leader, Branko Crvenkovski. Mr Verusevski is alleged to be the key liaison figure in the operation. The three are in custody. SHOW LESS READ MORE >
Country Report Macedonia
Country gripped by opposition chief's arrest in "coup" plot
Claims and counter-claims
Polarised political scene
EU accession status threatened?