North Macedon’s parliament elected Social Democrat technocrat Dimitar Kovasevsky as prime minister late Sunday after more than two months of political turmoil in the country.
Kovasevsky, the former deputy finance minister, will replace Zoran Zaev, who stepped down after his party’s massive defeat in municipal elections last month.
The new coalition cabinet, led by Kovacevsky’s Social Democrats (SDSM), was supported by 62 MPs in the 120-seat parliament. Thirty-six lawmakers voted against it.
Presenting his agenda in parliament on Saturday, Kovacevsky had said a key goal of his government would be “high and sustainable economic growth”.
He also promised to try to address the country’s energy crisis and bring it closer to the European Union.
The 47-year-old Kovacevsky took charge of the SDSM last month.
He took over as prime minister after the previous government, also led by the SDSM, avoided a no-confidence vote in November after weeks of talks with smaller parties.
However, since then the opposition has accused the government of lack of legitimacy and called for early elections. Kovacevsky insisted that the elections would be held as scheduled in 2024.
As deputy finance minister, Kovacevsky, who holds a PhD in economics, kept a low profile.
Political analysts have questioned whether he would be able to negotiate the challenges facing the nation.
At home, he says, he will face complicated ties within the ruling coalition and the corruption that is crippling the country’s economy.
His biggest foreign policy challenge is believed to be making progress on EU membership talks, which have been stalled by opposition from Bulgaria.
In 2019, the country added the geographical qualification “North” to its official name to differentiate it from the Greek province of Macedonia.
The change enabled North Macedonia to join NATO and was a precondition for paving the way for its possible EU membership.
But historical issues and disputes over the origin of the Macedonian language have put Bulgaria in the country’s path to EU membership.