Macedonia's plan to reshuffle cabinet enters final phase

The Macedonian ruling Social Democratic Party's talks with small parties on a possible reshuffle have entered their final phase and the outcome is expected to be announced within the next few days, local media reported.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has hold parallel talks this week with the two opposing branches of the small BESA party as well as with Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA).

According to media reports, talks focused on aligning the party platforms with that of the government as well as on the role they would take in the cabinet, meaning ministerial and other managerial posts.

Zaev's first dilemma is the split between two opposing camps inside the small ethnic Albanian BESA party. Both claim that they are the party's true representatives.

"BESA will probably get one ministerial post -- but at the moment we do not know which one," said Orhan Murtezani, from the branch led by Afrim Gashi, which controls three seats in the Macedonian parliament.

Meanwhile, Zaev is negotiating with the other branch of the party, which controls two seats and is led by Bilal Kasami.

Zaev's government stands on thin majority, with the support of just 61 of the 120 MPs in the assembly. However, several other MPs who are not officially part of the ruling alliance have said they would support his administration.

Zaev's government will have a majority of 68 votes if he can convince the two MPs from the DPA, as well as all five BESA MPs to join.

"I would like these days to wrap up this topic. Everyone of course has their expectations about the proposals that mostly originate from my side," Zaev said.

Zaev first announced a mini-reshuffle intended to widen support for the government at the start of this year.

This would be the first reshuffle since Zaev came to power on June 1 last year. On April 12, Zaev's government pulled through the vote of no confidence requested by the largest opposition party VMRO-DPMNE.


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