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North Macedonia Parliament Dissolves After Passing Key Prosecution, Defense Legislation

Parliament has now been disbanded. (file photo)

SKOPJE -- North Macedonia’s parliament has passed two key bills, on the public prosecutor's office and defense, before the chamber dissolved to pave the way for snap elections.

"I believe that all the decisions we have made in this parliament were in the interest of our citizens," speaker Talat Xhaferi told the last session of the 120-seat parliament on February 16.

Earlier, 80 lawmakers -- the minimum needed for the law's adoption -- backed the Law on the Public Prosecutor's Office, which the ruling Social Democrats hope will persuade the European Union to set a date for the start of accession talks.

The EU’s October 2019 decision to halt the opening of membership negotiations with Skopje prompted the Social Democrats to call the early parliamentary elections for April 12 -- eight months before the normal expiration of the parliament's four-year term.

A total of 80 lawmakers also backed on February 16 a draft law on defense to align the country’s legislation with NATO’s collective-security principles.

North Macedonia is expected to become a full NATO member later this year once the 29th and final member of the alliance -- Spain -- ratifies its accession protocol, which is expected to happen by mid-March.

North Macedonia was granted a protocol on accession to NATO membership a year ago after an agreement with neighboring Greece to change the name of the former Yugoslav republic.