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Ruling coalition plans to press forward with controversial legislative election

April 24, 2016 - MACEDONIA

The ruling VMRO DPMNE coalition set the election for the 123-seat unicameral Assembly for Apr 24, then postponed it to Jun 5 after an outcry. The opposition had threatened to boycott an April vote, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and European Union had warned that it was too early for vital reforms to be enacted.

The election had been moved forward from 2018 because of a wire-tapping scandal that allegedly exposed corruption and abuse of power in the government of VMRO DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski.

Gruevski denies the authenticity of the tapes. He stepped down in Jan 2016 after 10 years in power

The opposition Social Democrats (SDSM) asserted that April was too soon for the vote because reforms promised as part of a deal to end the country's political crisis remain unfulfilled.

The European Union-brokered agreement requires election reforms and a clean-up of the electoral roll. It also demands media reforms that would allow objective reporting, along with measures to separate state and political party activities. The biggest concern remains the short time frame to get the electoral roll improved.

The political crisis has prompted mass opposition protests in Skopje.

EU and US broker early elections in Macedonia (EU Observer 2 Jun 2015)

Macedonia opposition threatens to boycott election called to end crisis (Reuters 16 Jan 2016)

Macedonia Election Date Still on Table (Balkan Insight 3 Feb 2016)

Date written/update: 2016-03-20