SKOPJE, NORTH MACEDONIA — North Macedonian President Stevo Pendarovski says government institutions are failing the small Balkan nation so drastically that it could undermine prospects for long-awaited European Union accession talks.
"We have decades — not years — but decades of institutions malfunctioning, including the political institutions," Pendarovski told VOA's Macedonian service in an exclusive interview Thursday in Skopje.
"I am not talking here only about the judicial system," he said, referring to an ongoing extortion scandal that has rocked the national government, as well as the Special Prosecution Office, established in 2015 to probe high-level crime in the country.
"These vital institutions in the country are not serving the people as they should," Pendarovski said. "They do not fight crime and corruption on the level a mature democracy should."
Last month, the country's outgoing chief special prosecutor, Katica Janeva, unexpectedly tendered her resignation amid allegations that she had been implicated in a scheme to extort millions from an indicted businessman in exchange for a reduced sentence in an unrelated case. She has since denied involvement "in any shape or form."
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