Today in the Cabinet of the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, the 5th session of the Security Council was held, dedicated to the state of emergency introduced to protect and deal with the coronavirus epidemic. In his statement after the Council session, President Pendarovski stressed that according to the assessments made for the following period, it is necessary to re-declare a state of emergency. The decision, the President said, would be made in accordance with his constitutional powers and would last for the next 30 days.
Below you will find President Pendarovski’s statement given after the 5th session of the Security Council.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, the 5th session of the Security Council was held, dedicated to the state of emergency introduced to protect and deal with the coronavirus epidemic.
Invited and present at the session were the President of the Assembly, Talat Xhaferi, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Radmila Sekerinska, the Ministers of Interior and Foreign Affairs, Nake Culev and Nikola Dimitrov, and Professors Veton Ljatifi and Nenad Markovic. The other members, including Ministers Venko Filipce and Bujar Osmani, who were also invited, due to the new situation related to the mayor of Kumanovo, did not attend the session.
After hearing the remarks of the competent ministers and discussing the only point on the agenda, it was concluded that all available resources of the state are aimed at dealing with the pandemic caused by COVID-19. We have a positive development of the events in Debar and Centar Zupa, where the crisis situation is abolished, i.e. ended. Unfortunately, the situation in Kumanovo is complicated, due to which additional human resources and protective material are deployed there.
My position is that the situation in Kumanovo requires special focus and attention and maybe very soon we will have to apply the successful model from Debar and Centar Zupa, given that it is a municipality with over 100,000 inhabitants which is a huge potential for the spread of the virus.
In recent days, the trends are negative in Prilep, and the capital, due to the size of its population, remains subject to constant increased monitoring and analyses.
We agreed during the session that the competent services are working diligently and making every effort. The healthcare staff, the police, the army are mobilized around the clock in all critical regions, have excellent cooperation on the ground, and the guidelines and recommendations of the World Health Organization are effectively implemented. I would like to thank all of them, on behalf of the citizens, for their sacrifice and day and night engagement.
The Security Council also discussed the decision to declare a state of emergency which I made on March 18 this year. In the past period, on a daily basis I received information from the Central Crisis Headquarters and the Government yesterday submitted a report on the measures and activities in the past 30 days and a proposal for declaration of a state of emergency in the next 30 days.
According to the assessments made for the following period, it is clear that a state of emergency is needed again. I will make the decision in accordance with my constitutional competencies and it will last for the next 30 days.
Here I would like to publicly comment on some legal dilemmas that have arisen in the professional and general public in recent days. It is clear that the creator of the constitution did not envisage such a situation: the Parliament to be dismissed and thus not to be able to confirm my first decision on the state of emergency. In a situation where MPs receive a salary, when none of them has asked for an appanage that is possible after the end of the term, which means that their terms are still valid, and the Assembly still does not work, I take responsibility for making such a decision, only because we have an unprecedented situation when it is far more important to save lives and human health than to hide behind legal interpretations.
Therefore, I would like to clarify the following: the current state of emergency ends today due to the expiration of the 30-day deadline which was determined and will not be formally legally extended because there is no constitutional basis for it. Therefore, today, based on a new reasoned proposal from the Government, and in the situation when the Assembly is not working, I will make a new decision to declare a state of emergency for a period of 30 days on the entire territory of the country. However, this decision does not diminish the responsibility of all relevant political factors in the country to clearly and publicly state their views on this issue, because in mid-May we will have the same legal dilemmas before us.
Here you will allow me to add a few more words about things for which I have no direct competence, but I want to convey the reactions of many of our citizens to me, regarding the measure to restrict movement. With over 80 hours of practically complete ban on movement throughout the country as planned for the holiday, we are currently one of the countries with the most rigid measures in this regard in Europe.
Not only me, I believe that the huge number of citizens is perfectly clear what is the logic and what is the justification for the introduction of this measure, but, I said last time, to repeat, the most drastic measures should be applied as an exception and in a reasonable time period. If that is exceeded, it will be counterproductive and may solve health problems, but it will cause problems in some other areas.
I think the same about the complete closure of economic entities and in that direction I want to encourage the Government after the holiday to define the plan for phased gradual return of economic activity to normal because it is clear that not only us but the whole world will have to learn to live with the virus for a long time, and in the meantime we will have to find modalities to continue with our lives with all the necessary restrictions and preventive measures.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me to congratulate Orthodox believers the great Christian holiday of the Resurrection of Christ – Easter, which we traditionally celebrate with regular service in churches and meetings with loved ones. This year the church will have to comply with the rules that apply to everyone else. Due to the pandemic, many rights of all of us are either taken away or reduced in a certain period of time, such as, for example, the right to free movement or the right to education, which are constitutionally guaranteed, but in this period we all have a higher goal – to preserve the lives and health of our people, of course, including the believers.
In our common state, no religious community is above others, no believer is more important than an atheist and vice versa. In a week from now, the Ramadan fasts begin, which will also be observed in a state of emergency for the first time this year, with all the rules and restrictions it imposes on all of us.
One thing must be clear to us – only together and with maximum respect for each other can we overcome this crisis.
To conclude, at today’s session we concluded that the Security Council will continue to monitor the situation and will meet when the need arises.