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News 03 Mar 14

Macedonia Political Parties Agree Early Elections

All major Macedonian political players have agreed that early parliamentary elections should be held on April 27, in parallel with the second round of presidential polls.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski | Archive photo

After all parties gave their consent to the idea of early general elections, parliament is expected to dissolve on Wednesday.

“We accept the challenge,” said Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, leader of the main ruling VMRO DPMNE party on Saturday at a party convention, after his junior coalition partner asked for early polls.

The junior ruling Democratic Union for Integration submitted the snap poll initiative to parliament on Friday because it said VMRO DPMNE had ignored its idea for a joint presidential candidate.

The main opposition party, the Social Democrats, SDSM, gave its consent on Sunday, although it accused the ruling parties of faking the crisis in their coalition just to have an excuse to set early general elections.

“The country has completely deteriorated. The punishment for these policies will be delivered by the people at the forthcoming elections,” the head of the SDSM, Zoran Zaev, told media.

For Prime Minister Gruevski, who has held power since 2006, this will be the third time he has challenged the opposition in an early general election.

The announcement of the polls, although somewhat expected, has overshadowed the presidential race in which there four candidates are running.

The ruling VMRO DPMNE has nominated the current head of state Gjorge Ivanov for another five-year term, while the opposition Social Democrats put forward Stevo Pendarovski, a former advisor to ex-presidents Boris Trajkovski and Branko Crvenkovski.

The former deputy speaker of parliament, Iljaz Halimi, is the only ethnic Albanian running for the presidency in April, endorsed by the opposition Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA. Zoran Popovski from the small party GROM is the fourth candidate in the race.

The first round of presidential election will be held on April 13. The early general elections will be held on April 27, along with the second round of presidential polls.

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