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Macedonian MPs to lose pay in boycott

SKOPJE, Macedonia – Macedonia is cutting the salaries of opposition lawmakers who have boycotted parliamentary sessions for a week following a stormy state budget debate.

Parliament said Thursday the 43 left-wing lawmakers will get a third of their normal January salary for as long as they abstain. Macedonia’s 123 deputies make an average $1,300 a month.

The Social Democrat-led opposition is angry because their lawmakers – together with journalists – were expelled from the Christmas Eve debate amid clashes between rival lawmakers and supporters inside and outside Parliament. Three lawmakers and 11 policemen were injured.

The budget was approved, but opposition parties said the conservative government is wasting money on grandiose monuments, expensive cars and furniture.

A Social Democrat statement said the pay cut is “a small price for democracy and freedom.”

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