Surveillance scandal blowing up Macedonian government

Macedonia's government — which accused the opposition of planning a coup last week — is reeling from a bombshell press-conference given by the opposition party, in which they were accused of mass, politically oriented surveillance.

Macedonia is a former Yugoslavian republic that is seeking entrance to the EU (hampered by many factors, not least Greece's objection to the country's name). The social democrat opposition accuse the conservative ruling party of winning the last election by fraud, and have boycotted Parliament for nine months. The news of the illegal surveillance was accompanied by a dump of surveillance recordings apparently leaked by someone within the Macedonian security service.

Zaev says he has been targeted for at least five years, although legally, the longest period that a person can be eavesdropped upon with a judge's consent is 14 months. The opposition played audio materials which is said were Zaev's conversations with party colleagues as well as one private call with his young daughter.

Even Gruevski's closest political associates have not been spared, the opposition alleged. A private phone conversation between what it said was Police Minister Gordana Jankuloska and Finance Minister Zoran Stavreski was aired at the press conference. The conversation appears to suggest that the VMRO DPMNE authorities are in charge of state employment. In the rest of the conversation, the two insult their party associates and opposition leaders.

The opposition also played recordings that they said was from tapped conversations involving the head of the junior ruling party, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, Ali Ahmeti, and the ethnic Albanian opposition leader, Menduh Thaci, and others.

Zaev hinted that even that President Gjorge Ivanov, who was Gruevski's ruling VMRO DPMNE party candidate, was among those who were secretly recorded.

Macedonia PM Accused of Large-Scale Wire-Tapping [Balkan Insight/Sinisa Jakov Marusic]