Macedonian Social Democrats return to parliament after more than a year

By bne IntelliNews September 2, 2015

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Macedonia's biggest opposition party, the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), has returned to parliament, ending a boycott that began after the April 2014 general elections, which it claimed were rigged. 
 
The move follows an EU-brokered agreement between the leaders of the country's four largest political parties on July 15, following months of political wrangling. Under that deal a new government – not led by the current prime minister, Nikola Gruevski – will be appointed to to organise early elections scheduled for April 24, 2016. 
 
SDSM leader Zoran Zaev said that the next step is electing a new special prosecutor before September 15. The prosecutor will be tasked with investigating information revealed through SDSM’s project "The Truth about Macedonia".
 
In February, Zaev accused Gruevski of ordering a massive wiretapping campaign that targeted more than 20,000 Macedonians. Since then the opposition leader has made many more allegations, and has publishing taped phone conversations concerning, among other things, the current government’s involvement in the judiciary, media, and key appointments. 
 
According to Gruevski, the scandal is a plot by foreign intelligence services, while Zaev claims he received the taped phone conversations from a whistleblower.
 
Zaev has said that in the case that no special prosecutor is elected by September 15, the July 15 agreement will no longer be valid. The opposition leader also reiterated that the transitional government should be elected by October 20.
 
In a related note, on September 1 the Primary Court Skopje 1 said it had rejected the taped phone conversations as evidence in the case against Gruevski and eight others, which was initiated at the request of the SDSM. According to the court, the conversations were obtained illegally and cannot be used as evidence.

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