Macedonian MPs postpone snap election until June 5

Macedonian MPs postpone snap election until June 5
By Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje February 24, 2016

At a session on February 23, Macedonian MPs revoked an earlier decision to dissolve the parliament on February 24 and postponed early elections until June 5.

This follows the announcement on February 21 by the ambassadors of the EU and the US in Macedonia that conditions for holding credible early election on April 24 have not been met. The elections are one of the requirements set out in the July 2015 Przino agreement for overcoming the political crisis in the country.

The decision was taken after MPs from the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), the junior coalition partner of the governing VMRO-DPMNE party, and the opposition Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), submitted an initiative signed by 26 MPs amending an earlier decision to dissolve parliament on February 24.

The initiative was supported with 83 votes in favour, and three against, broadcaster MRTV said.

Parliament is now expected to be dissolved on April 7, which opens the way for early elections to be held on June 5, 60 days after the dissolution of parliament.

On February 23, interim ministers and deputy ministers from the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) said they would resign if the decision to dissolve the parliament on February 24 was upheld, according a statement from the party. Members of the SDSM were given ministerial posts in the interim government formed in January, another requirement of the Przino agreement.

“Macedonia must choose a new government, with full legitimacy to solve serious problems and return Macedonia back to the EU accession path,” SDSM leader Zoran Zaev said according to the statement, which was released following the vote in the parliament.

There are no conditions for free and credible elections, which was confirmed by the international community, added interim interior minister Oliver Spasovski.

The main conditions for credible elections to be held are clearing the voters’ registry and media reforms. The SDSM has warned that it will boycott the elections if proper conditions were not met.

The EU-brokered Przino agreement was intended to end the political crisis in Macedonia, which emerged after the SDSM accused government officials of corruption. The party released a number of illegal recordings of conversations that incriminated top officials including the country’s then prime minister Nikola Gruevski. This led to mass anti-government protests in Skopje in spring 2015.