Sunday, July 27, 2008

Macedonian parliament approves new gov't

Macedonian parliament approved on Saturday a new government proposed by the Prime Minister elect Nikola Gruevski, news reaching here from Skopje reported.

The new government was voted in by 78 votes in the 120-seat parliament which was boycotted by opposition parties.

Gruevski submitted a five-point program of the new government to the parliament: to achieve annual economic growth of at least 6percent, join the EU and NATO, fight crime and corruption, boost living standard and offer better education to all its citizens.

In Macedonia's June 1 early general polls, Gruevksi's VMRO-DPMNE won a landslide victory with 63 seats.

Gruevski chose the Democratic Union for Integration, an ethnic Albanian party who won most seats among two main Albanian political parties for co-governing.

Ethnic Albanians account for a quarter of Macedonia's 2.1 million people.

Most ministers from the previous government will stay on their jobs in the new government.

Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki, Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska, Minister without portfolio of Economy Zoran Stavreski, Finance Minister Trajko Slavevski, Justice Minister Mihajlo Manevski are all keeping their positions.

Minister for Transport Mile Janakieski as well as Minister Without Portfolio in Charge for Foreign Investment Vele Samak will also stay. Aco Spasenoski will again lead the Ministry of Agriculture.

The new Defense Minister will be Zoran Konjanovski, and the spokesman of the outgoing government Ivica Bocevski will lead the European Union integration department.

Vesna Kanceska Milevska will be appointed head of the Ministry of Culture while Pero Stojanovski will lead the Ministry of Education. Ivo Ivanovski will lead the newly formed Ministry for Information Society.

The Albanian Democratic Union of Integration party heads five ministries: health, economy, local government, ecology, and labor and social policy.

Abdulakim Ademi from the ethnic Albanian party will serve as the country's deputy prime minister, in charge of implementing a peace deal reached after Macedonia's 2001 internal conflict between Macedonians and ethnic Albanians.

Macedonia's opposition parties led by the Social Democrats and another ethnic Albanian party the Democratic party of Albanians boycotted the parliament session.

The Social Democrats walked out of a parliament session last week in protest against the arrest of its deputy leader, accusing the ruling coalition of trying to intimidate the opposition and force it into wilderness.

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