The leaders of Macedonia’s four largest political parties reached a preliminary agreement to hold early elections by end-April 2016, according to a statement by Johannes Hahn, EU commissioner in charge of European neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations. A final deal is expected to be reached at a new round of talks scheduled for June 10 in Brussels.
On June 2, Hahn met in Skopje with PM Nikola Gruevski, also leader of the ruling party VMRO-DPMNE, Zoran Zaev, leader of the biggest opposition party SDSM, Ali Ahmeti, leader of the biggest ethnic Albanian party DUI, which is also a ruling coalition partner, and Menduh Thaci, leader of the opposition ethnic Albanian party DPA.
In his remarks, the commissioner said that ahead of the elections, there must be sound electoral codes, a revised voting list and respect for the rights of minorities. All recommendations of the European Commission concerning the independence of the judiciary should be accepted. “We have yet no negotiations, but it is about rule of law, independence of justice, freedom of media etc.,” Hahn said.
The release did not inform who will organise the early elections, and only said that they agreed to foresee “a kind of transitional period.” In another statement, Hahn said, “A number of points will need to be further elaborated and agreed over the coming days, and in this respect, the Commissioner has asked to finalise talks with the leaders shortly.”
We remind that previously Zaev has demanded the resignation of Gruevski, the formation of a transitional government to prepare fair elections, as well as the resignations of the public prosecutor and the management of public broadcaster MRTV. Gruevski has not agreed.
Most MPs from SDSM have boycotted the parliament since the April 2014 general elections, claiming that the elections were rigged.
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