No-confidence motions, calls for governments to resign in four Balkan nations

174.jpgAfter two failed attempts, Romania’s Democratic Party (PD) filed a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s minority government on Monday (June 4th), while Macedonia’s main opposition party made a similar move on Tuesday, in a bid to topple the ruling conservatives. 

“The government has shown serious weaknesses on the issues where mistakes are not allowed … particularly concerning interethnic relations,” the AP quoted Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia spokesman Jani Makraduli as saying. “The lack of political dialogue has stalled the country’s progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration.”

The party’s no-confidence motion, he said, was prompted by the inability of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s governing coalition to find a way out of the months-long political crisis, and by its failure to make good on promises to ensure economic revival and foreign investment growth.

With the ruling VMRO-DPMNE-led coalition controlling 68 of the 120 seats in Parliament, Gruevski said he had no fears that his government would survive the no-confidence vote, which is expected on Thursday.

His Romanian counterpart will face a similar test Monday, when the country’s lawmakers are expected to vote on the no-confidence motion filed by President Traian Basescu’s former party, amid the country’s continuing political crisis.

In a surprise move Tuesday, Basescu sent out invitations for fresh consultations on choosing a new prime minister and a new government made up of Tariceanu’s National Liberal Party (PNL), the PD and the Liberal Democratic Party. Basescu wants the talks to be held Friday.

A senior PNL member described the president’s proposal as “a trap”, as the suggested coalition formula would produce another minority government, effectively leading to the early elections Basescu has been advocating.

Meanwhile, the opposition Social Democratic Party is expected to decide Friday whether it will join Tariceanu’s cabinet, or whether it will file a separate no-confidence motion against the government, following their refusal to support the one submitted by the PD.

In Serbia, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica is also likely to face a no-confidence vote, the country’s ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) suggested on Tuesday, as it accused the government of “deceiving the public” about the circumstances behind the arrest of UN-indicted war crimes fugitive Zdravko Tolimir last week.

SRS deputy leader Tomislav Nikolic, whose party opposes co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, told reporters there was evidence that Tolimir was arrested in Serbia and not in Republika Srpska, as authorities claim.

“It is obvious that Kostunica and [President] Boris Tadic’s government wishes to rule Serbia with lies, deceit and have the media ready to serve them at any cost, even with the government surprising and deceiving us like this, at a time when the fate of Kosovo is at stake,” Nikolic said, adding that all 81 SRS deputies had signed the proposed no-confidence motion.

It needs to be backed by at least three more lawmakers to be placed on the parliamentary agenda.

In neighbouring Bulgaria, the right-wing opposition Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) adopted a declaration Tuesday, calling for the immediate resignation of the country’s ruling three-party coalition, describing it as “harmful” to the nation. UDF urged the other opposition parties in Parliament to back the move.

Meanwhile, one of the parties in the three-way coalition, the National Movement for Stability and Progress (NDSV) — formerly the National Movement Simeon II party — is facing a major crisis in the wake of a controversial congress Sunday. In addition to the open split among delegates on whether the Liberal Party should leave the Socialist-led coalition, which its leader firmly opposes, the forum also sparked allegations that the election of a new executive body had been manipulated.

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