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The senior party in the Macedonian government, VMRO-DPMNE, has refused opposition demands to hold early parliamentary elections alongside local polls in March.
Top VMRO-DPMNE party officials, who met on Saturday evening, also rejected the opposition bloc’s call for the interior, justice and finance ministers to be replaced so that fair and democratic elections could be held.
Macedonia entered a serious political crisis after turmoil in parliament on December 24 when opposition MPs were thrown out after protesting against the introduction of budget legislation for 2013.
After the incident, during which three MPs were hurt, the opposition announced that it would boycott the legislature.
The VMRO-DPMNE said in a statement that it will participate in the local elections as required by law and insisted that it wants the polls to comply with international democratic standards.
The party said that all recommendations for improving the country’s election legislation made by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, have been implemented, and that even tougher scrutiny of the polls would be welcomed.
“We want the entire OSCE from all over the world to come to Macedonia to monitor the polling stations and the ballot boxes all day, as much as they want before and after the voting, and we are ready to welcome them,” VMRO-DPMNE leader and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said.
Gruevski said the government was open to a new proposal to review the electoral register even though he claimed that it had already been put in order.
The junior partner in Macedonia’s government, the ethnic Albanian party DUI, also said that a general election was unnecessary.
“This government has legitimacy and it should be left to finish the programme for which it gained the confidence of citizens at elections,” the DUI said in a statement.
Donors spent hundreds of thousands of euro building a new museum in Gjirokastra - but the results were questionable and it ultimately closed over an ideological dispute.