Two main ethnic Albanian parties to boycott Macedonian June elections

By bne IntelliNews May 12, 2016

Macedonia's two main ethnic Albanian political parties, the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) and Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), have decided to boycott the snap general election scheduled for June 5. Of Macedonia's four main parties, only  VMRO-DPMNE submitted a candidate list to the election commission by the May 11 deadline.

Macedonia is in deep political crisis, with daily anti-government protests demanding the restoration of democracy in the country. The crisis escalated following the unexpected decision of Macedonian president Gjorge Ivanov to halt a raft of criminal proceedings against 56 people including ruling politicians and high-level officials in connection to wiretapped conversations leaked by the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) in 2015.

The SDSM has already said it will not take part in the election, and on May 11 local media reported that the two ethnic Albanian parties also planned to boycott the vote.

"We won’t submit the candidate lists," broadcaster Telma reported, citing Bujar Osmani from DUI.

DPA also announced it will not participate in the election as conditions for a free and democratic vote have not been met.

DUI is a minor coalition partner in the government led by the conservative VMRO-DPMNE, whose leader is former prime minister Nikola Gruevski. DPA is an opposition party. Both parties are representated in the parliament.

SDSM claims that the electoral roll is not cleared and there are no media reforms.

Meanwhile, VMRO-DPMNE delivering its candidate list half an hour before the deadline of midnight on May 11, broadcaster Sitel showed in a live broadcast.

The decision was taken a day earlier by the party’s Central and Executive Committees.

VMRO-DPMNE party was also the sole party that submitted lists for election board members to the state election commission by May 5 deadline in another sign that the early general vote scheduled for June 5 has been called into question.

Meanwhile, Germany’s special envoy for Macedonia Johannes Haindl, appointed earlier this month, is expected to arrive in Skopje on May 12 to meet representatives of the main political parties as well as the EU and US ambassadors to find ways out of the crisis.

VMRO-DPMNE, SDSM, DUI and DPA are the main political parties in Macedonia that concluded the Przino agreement in July 2015 for overcoming the political crisis in Macedonia. However, the implementation of the deal came to a standstill due to disagreements between parties, disregard for the agreed steps and lack of  reforms.

The early election was previously called for April 24 but later was postponed.

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