The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia at a session on Wednesday reached an unanimous decision not to launch a procedure to assess initiatives on repealing two articles of the Law on Local Self-Government and the Electoral Code, which would have allowed mayors and members of municipal councils to have their terms extended until local elections.
The initiators – namely the Ministry of Local Self-Government and the World Macedonian Congress, an NGO – have requested that an assessment should be made of the constitutionality and legality of the articles of the Local Self-Government Law and the Electoral Code where it is stated ‘the first half of May’.
Constitutional judges decided the Court is not authorized to decide upon legal situations that do not exist because ‘it is considered an exclusive authority of the legislator, i.e. the Parliament of Macedonia.’
“With the initiatives, the Constitution Court is required to create a new legal situation, which the Parliament, in fact, is charged with. In compliance with its obligations, the Constitutional Court should determine whether the contents of a law is in line with the Constitution or not. It isn’t its duty to create laws,” said Elena Gosheva, the judge-rapporteur.
Macedonia should have held local elections in the first half of May. However, all deadlines needed to schedule the elections have expired due to a stalemate in electing a Parliament Speaker.
On Tuesday, the Association of Local Self-Government Units (ZELS) called on the Macedonian Parliament ‘without any delay, and by the end’s week at the latest,’ to find a solution involving the mandates of mayors and municipal councils. According to ZELS, one likely solution is to amend the Electoral Code, i.e. instead the first half of May, a new date to be set to hold the local elections.
If no steps are made to extend mayors’ terms, local self-governments will lose their authority to perform key tasks and activities necessary for municipalities to function normally.
Moreover, the Constitutional Court at today’s session is also reviewing an initiative filed by a farmers’ association demanding that an article of the Electoral Code be disputed. Under the article, a ban is in force regarding the payment of subsidies until a new government is formed.