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Prime Minister Gruevski Assembles Economic “A-Team” with New Macedonian Cabinet

August 15, 2006

( Research Service)- New Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski has announced the members of his new cabinet, ending weeks of speculation regarding its makeup and indicating that Gruevski intends to fulfill a campaign promise by focusing on economic revitalization.

The fact that most economy-related ministers were chosen from Gruevski’s own VMRO-DPMNE party indicates that the new premier would like to keep the economic revitalization process under his own control. This is not necessarily a bad thing, considering that he received widespread praise for achievements in the economic sphere when he served as minister of finance, during the 1998-2002 government.

Of course, several ministerial positions went to other parties, allies in the coalition, with the Albanian DPA of Arben Xhaferi receiving the ministries of health, education, culture and ecology. The first two are most relevant to Albanians considering that their higher birth rate makes them more involved with state health services, and that they have great interests in issues of language rights and education for a predominantly young population.

Meanwhile, the NSDP of Tito Petkovski, which surprised some by picking up 6 parliamentary seats in the July 5th elections, will receive the ministry of defense, economy and a vice-prime minister’s position. For better or for worse, the Socialist Party won the important position of minister of agricultural.

The major differentiating factor between this government and previous ones is the deliberate emphasis placed on young, foreign-educated or foreign-employed individuals, with the connections and know-how to hopefully bring Macedonia more rapidly to economic reform and prosperity. Some of Gruevski’s biggest “acquisitions” include Vele Samak (a Microsoft manager and son of Blagoja Samakoski, president of the leading Macedonian technology company, Microsam) and Gligor Tashkovich, Executive Vice President for Government & Media Relations of the AMBO oil pipeline project.

Gruevski has also retained John Jonovski, son of the politically influential Australian-Macedonian, Kiril Jonovski. John was previously an economic advisor to former PM Buckovski, and in fact led the highly successful debut of Macedonian sovereiegn bonds on the market in December 2005. He has 15 years’ experience in international invesment banking and consulting at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, working most recently as a director at UBS Investment Bank in London.

Gruevski has also selected people from the NGO sector with experience cooperating with European and American institutions.

Further, another new Vice-prime minister for economy, Zoran Stavrevski, met last Monday in Washington with World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. According to MIA, “Wolfowitz promised full support of Macedonia in the forthcoming period and welcomed the new government commitment to reforms,” and disclosed that the World Bank and the government “are to kick-off talks [regarding the bank’s] new four-year strategy for supporting Macedonia’s economic development in September.” Stavrevski in fact is coming off of 5 and a half years at the Bank, where he held a number of increasingly responsible positions ending with a position in Operation Policy Country Services (OPCS).

It is also being speculated that a new ministry for IT Development will be created and led by Ivo Ivanovski, a director of the IT section in a plastics company in Ohio.

All in all, there is every reason to be optimistic that the new government will build on the successes of its predecessor, which mainly include stabilizing the country in its post-war period and undergoing painful reforms dictated by Brussels and global financial institutions. The inability of that government to make these reforms translate into visible wealth creation on the individual level, however, was what led to its downfall.

Now, provided that Ali Ahmeti and his DUI party stop their obstructionism, desist from the threats and let the new government get down to work, the outlook is good for positive change. After all, the people have demanded it.

New Cabinet (By Party)


Nikola Gruevski: Prime Minister

Trajko Slavevski: Minister of Finance

Antonio Milosovski: Minister of Foreign Affairs

Gordana Jankulovska: Minister of Internal Affairs

Mihajlo Manevski: Minister of Justice

Vlatko Chingovski: Minister of Economy

Mile Janakievski: Minister of Transport & Communications

Zoran Konjanovski: Minister of Local Self-Government

Zoran Stavrevski: Vice-Prime Minister

Gabriela Konevska-Trajkovska: Vice-Prime Minister for Euro-Integration

Non-VMRO: Special Nonpartisan Appointments by the Prime Minister:

Vele Samak: Minister without Portfolio (for Foreign Investment)

Gligor Tashkovich: Minister without Portfolio (for Foreign Investment)


Imer Selmani: Minister of Health and Vice Prime Minister

Sulejman Rushiti: Minister of Education

Ilirjan Bekiri: Minister of Culture

Imer Aliu: Minister of Ecology


Zivko Jankulovski: Vice Prime Minister

Lazar Elenovski: Minister of Defence

Vera Rafajlovska: Minister of Economy

Socialist Party

Aco Spasovski: Minister of Agriculture

Liberal Party

Ljubcho Meshkov: Minister of Social Policy

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