Prime Minister Zooran Zaev dismissed the speculations Tuesday on alleged political deal with his predecessor Nikola Gruevski, who fled to Hungary. Zaev expects that ex-prime minister be extradited to the Macedonian authorities to serve a two-year jail term for influencing officials to buy EUR600.000 Mercedes.
“I strongly reject the speculations on any political deal with Nikola Gruevski. Yesterday, just 10 minutes before the news ‘Gruevski is in Budapest’ was made public, I said there are many skeptics claiming that politicians are unlikely to be brought to justice. And that is exactly what happened. There has been no collusion. The rule of law and the independence of judiciary are fully complied with. I am confident and the time will tell that Gruevski will return and serve his sentence. And he will be tried for all other offences,” Zaev said on Tuesday.
Zaev called Gruevski a coward, and cited him as saying he would assume an overall responsibility to ensure that other defendants are safe. But he fled the country”.
“What a coward. He used to say he would rather go to jail to ensure the others are let off the hook.
As regards the extradition procedure, Zaev said Hungary should set an example as a country that does not harbor criminals who did harm to the citizens of Macedonia. “What would be our motivation for EU entry if a member-country provides shelter to criminals, dishonoring the international rule of law and the international practice,” Zaev said.
Asked by reporter to tell who is to be held accountable for Gruevski’s escape, the PM said if border police are found to have made omission, there will be consequences.