Macedonia calls general election for 24th April


Macedonia has broken a political deadlock which has been going on for weeks and called a general election for 24th April.

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski announced the date late on Monday with the support of his VMRO-DPMNE coalition but not, crucially, the opposition Social Democrats. However, the prime minister pointed out that this date had been agreed last summer and there was a need to move forward from the current political crisis.

Parliament approved its dissolution and the general election date after accepting the prime minister’s resignation and agreeing to a new government to be led by Emil Dimitriev, the secretary-general of the ruling VMRO DPMNE party.

Under a European Union (EU) deal an interim government with representatives from all parties was to be put into place prior to the general election, but that now seems unlikely because the opposition will probably boycott the move.

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, who has been leading the EU brokered talks, said yesterday that “I take note of the decisions taken today to conduct early elections on 24 April as foreseen in the Przno agreement. But as stated, I would have preferred a consensual solution by all parties. Now it is critically important that all political and institutional actors in the country do their utmost to ensure fair elections in line with democratic standards. To achieve this, the urgent preparatory work must be stepped up, notably on the voters’ list.

“Despite the failure to find a common agreement on the election date, I expect all political parties to cooperate constructively and to stick to all their commitments under the June/July political agreement, including the urgent reform priorities.”

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