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Election deadline looms in Macedonia; Some 400,000 people may not vote if the opposition boycotts local election
As the Saturday deadline for submitting lists of candidates for the local elections looms, all sides express concern for the political situation in Macedonia. After the opposition said that it remains determined to boycott the March local elections, the mission heads of the European Union, the NATO Liaison Office, the OSCE, and the United States embassy in Skopje yesterday issued a joint statement expressing “great concern” about the situation and asked for “immediate steps” to be taken for overcoming the political crisis that might derail country’s EU agenda. They urge for strengthened political dialogue between the government and the opposition.
If the opposition decides to boycott the March 24 local election, around 400,000 out of some 1,5 million registered voters may stay at home on the election day, thus bringing the legitimacy of the poll in question, the daily says. This is how many votes the opposition won during the last general elections in 2011. In some areas the boycott might even mean that the election threshold wont’ be reached. In order to be successful, at least one third of the voters in the electoral unit must vote. Opposition Social Democrats say that it is almost impossible for them to meet the deadline for completing and submitting the lists of candidates that expires on Saturday at midnight. Since December, the party has been boycotting parliament and insisting on holding early general elections together with the local polls which the government rejects.
Balkan Insight has not verified the reports and cannot vouch for their accuracy.
While the EU accession process has not affected the media’s existential struggle for survival one way or the other, they have made respect for human and minority rights more mainstream.