Macedonia cut MPs salaries over boycott
SKOPJE - Agence France-Presse
Lawmakers of the opposition block the rostrum to protest during a session on budget. Deputies will get a third of their salary as long as they abstain. AP photoMacedonia decided Jan. 3 to cut by two-thirds the salaries of opposition deputies who have been boycotting assembly sessions since a brawl broke out last month during a budget debate.
“Deputies who boycott the Parliament will get a third of their salary as long as they abstain,” said the decree adopted by the majority of the deputies present at the 123-seat assembly.
A deputy salary is around 1,000 euros per month, almost three times the average monthly income of 350 euros in this former Yugoslav republic. The leftist opposition, led by the SDSM party, said a “pay cut is a small price for democracy and freedom.” The move came after Dec. 24 scuffles in the Parliament between the SDSM deputies and ruling conservative MPs over the state budget. After fighting between rival lawmakers inside and outside the parliament which left two lawmakers and 11 policemen injured, the SDSM said its deputies would boycott Parliament’s activities.
On Dec. 29, the SDSM called for the government to resign amid a dire economic crisis in the country, where unemployment has reached 31 percent.