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POLITICS “For” and “against” the online working of the Assembly

Following the three confirmed cases of MPs active in the Covid-19 virus, the debates over the possibility of a session of the Assembly through online applications intensified. The ruling majority proposes a change in the Rules of Procedure to allow remote work for MPs who have a solution for isolation, while VMRO-DPMNE believes that from a constitutional and legal point of view the Assembly can not work and decide through online applications.

The issue of MPs’ online work became topical yesterday after the VMRO-DPMNE parliamentary group confirmed that a member of parliament from this party is positive about Kovid-19. She was positive for the virus more than a week ago, and two weeks before she did not come to work in the Parliament.

In the previous days, it was announced that MPs Laze Taneski from SDSM and Ismail Jahoski from DUI also tested positive for Covid-19. Tanevski was tested because he wanted to travel abroad, and Jahoski had symptoms of Covid-19 and was hospitalized.

After the epidemiological surveys, the Center for Public Health informed that there is no need to isolate other MPs, because the measures in the Parliament were respected.

SDSM whip Jovan Mitreski said he explained the need for changes in the Rules of Procedures at Tuesday’s coordination meeting in the Parliament, towards introducing the online concept but only for those MPs who are isolating.

“This means that those lawmakers who are infected or in isolation can attend sessions of the Parliament and its committee through an online platform,” said Mitreski.

He added that in time of serious challenges citizens need institutions with full capacity and a Parliament that can operate in the present circumstances.

“The country cannot be left without a Budget review, the 2021 Budget and other important decisions in the interest of citizens, companies, economy and institutions amid these difficult time for us and the world,” noted Mitreski.

DUI whip Izet Mexhiti said that opposition parties in Parliament have been given time to think about the motion for changes in the Rules of Procedures regarding the specification of word ‘attendance’ at Parliament sessions.

“The Rules of Procedures reads ‘attendance’. We want to specify this by adding physical or online. We should not burden the MPs who are currently COVID-19 patients and take risks. We do not want to have a situation of blocking important processes,” said Mexhiti after the coordination meeting with the Speaker.

According to him, the ruling parties want nothing more than specifying the word ‘attendance’, adding that the Government is already implementing the online session concept.

Earlier, VMRO-DPMNE MP Antonijo Miloshoski said the Parliament cannot make decisions through online applications from a constitutional aspect, since its Article 69 stipulates presence of a majority of lawmakers at sessions.

He added that Article 29 of the Rules of Procedures also reads that the MP has the right and duty to attend Parliament sessions and take part in the decision-making process.

The Alliance for Albanians/Alternative group said the online sessions could result in abuse of the rights of infected MPs.

“Our response at the coordination meeting was the humane one, namely can a person go online if he is on a ventilator. This is an abuse of the human and health rights. The Parliament offers the proper conditions, all it takes is good coordination between the ruling and the opposition parties,” said AA/A whip Skender Rexhepi.

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