Small Macedonian political parties join forces ahead of snap election

By bne IntelliNews September 13, 2016

Small Macedonian political parties are joining forces to form a third political block in the country ahead of the December 11 early general election, local media reported on September 13.

The new alliance is expected to collect votes from disappointed former members or supporters of the governing conservative VMRO-DPMNE, which alongside the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) is the main political force in the Balkan country. There are also two major ethnic Albanian parties, Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), a coalition partner of VMRO-DPMNE, and the opposition Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA).

The new alliance will consist of the Democratic Alliance of Pavle Trajanov, the MRO Workers' Party, FRODEM - a movement led by former VMRO-DPMNE member professor Jove Kekenovski, and other NGOs, Trajanov told Press24.

Trajanov said there was no chance his party, a former coalition partner of VMRO-DPMNE, would enter into coalition again with its ex-ally or with the SDSM.

According to unofficial information, the alliance is also in negotiations with the green political party Democratic Renewal of Macedonia (DOM) led by Liljana Popovska, which is another former coalition partner of VMRO-DPMNE, and with VMRO-NP, led by Macedonia’s first post-independence Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski. VMRO-NP splintered off from VMRO-DPMNE in 2004 and is now in opposition.

Ljube Boskovski’s United for Macedonia party has also announced plans to participate in the election but still has to decide whether it will stand alone or make an alliance with the SDSM or with the new opposition alliance, Press24 said.

Ex-Interior Minister Boskovski was released from prison in June 2016 after serving a five-year sentence on charges that he illegally financed an election campaign back in 2011.

Boskovski was interior minister in 1998-2002 in the VMRO-DPMNE government led by Georgievski.

However, after splitting from VMRO-DPMNE to found the right-wing United for Macedonia party, Boskovski became fiercely critical of the government led by ex-Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. His party was considered a serious contender in the 2011 election.

On 31 August, Macedonia's four main political parties decided to hold a snap election on December 11 finally agreeing that conditions for a free and democratic vote were in place after months of wrangling. 

The Macedonian parliament elected an interim government on September 2, to prepare the ground for holding snap election, which is seen as a way for the country to overcome the political crisis.

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