Supporters of the movement "For The Common Macedonia" stormed the Macedonian parliament and attacked the deputies of the parliamentary majority, following a vote for a new speaker. In addition, journalists were detained in the press center of the Parliament.
Demonstrators forced their way into the building after the Social Democrats and the parties representing ethnic Albanians elected a parliament speaker in a vote that Gruevski’s party didn’t recognize, MIA said.
As Bloomberg reports, the former Yugoslav state of 2 million people has struggled to find a way out of political deadlock after former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski failed to for a coalition government following an inconclusive snap vote five months ago. Gruevski’s ally, President Gjorge Ivanov, has refused to give a mandate to the opposition Social Democrats, which say they can form a majority-backed government with parties representing ethnic Albanians.
Today's action was condemned by European Union Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who said “violence has no place in parliament,” according to his post on Twitter.
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The attack injured several members, including the leader of the opposition SDSM party, Zoran Zaev.
"This is a coup," shouted the deputies of VMRO-DPMNE party of former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, reports plusinfo.mk.
The 'coup' follows the Macedonian opposition leader's calls for an end to a political deadlock that has left parliament unable to elect a speaker for three weeks. As AP reports, Zoran Zaev suggested a new speaker could be elected outside normal procedures, an idea immediately rejected by the conservative party as an attempted coup.
Macedonia has been without a government since December, when former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's conservative party won elections, but without enough votes to form a government. Coalition talks broke down over ethnic Albanian demands that Albanian be recognized as an official second language. A quarter of Macedonia's population is ethnic Albanian.
Zaev secured the cooperation of another ethnic Albanian party, giving him 69 of parliament's 120 seats. But President Gjorge Ivanov refused to hand him the mandate to form a government.