Macedonia delays date of early election to June 5

Macedonia's parliament agrees to delay date of early election to June 5 after EU's and US-back opposition's demands

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, center, talks to the media in front of EU ambassador’s residence in Skopje, Macedonia, early Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016.

Macedonia's main political parties decided on Tuesday night to postpone the date of early elections initially planned for April 24, following heavy pressures by oppositions that are supported by the European Union and the US.

Legislators voted 83-3 to delay the general election until June 5.

"The decision for the election date was in our hands, and also we had the responsibility. Our purpose was not to satisfy the opposition, our goal was not to leave room for any speculations about the regularity of the election process," Nikola Gruevski, former Macedonian prime minister and leader of ruling VMRO-DPMNE announced at a press conference early Wednesday.

The decision comes after the main opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) threatened to boycott the elections, complaining that the conditions are not in place for them to be free and fair.

After almost a decade in power, the crisis deepened last year when the opposition accused Gruevski of illegal surveillance, wire-tapping, high-level corruption, interference in the media and judiciary.

Social-democrat opposition leader Zoran Zaev underlined a lack of media reform to reduce government influence and failure to conduct a thorough review of the electoral roll.

The government denied the allegations and accused the main opposition leader of spying and of trying to destabilise the country.

Macedonia has been an EU candidate nation since 2005 but has yet to open membership negotiations.

TRTWorld and agencies