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News 25 Feb 13

Macedonian Opposition Vows to Annul Poll Results

The opposition led by the Social Democrats says it wants to cancel the results of the March local elections which it has already vowed to boycott.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

In a five-point declaration adopted at a convention this weekend in the town of Kumanovo, the opposition gathered around the Social Democrats said it would “revise” and “annul” the results of the local elections if it comes to power.

It insists that without its participation, the elections will be illegitimate.

The Social Democrats launched a boycott of parliament on December 24, after governing parties passed a budget for 2013 in no more than a few minutes, and after opposition MPs and journalists were kicked out of the chamber.

Earlier this month, the political crisis deepened when the opposition refused to submit a list of mayoral candidates for the March elections by the February 24 deadline, after the government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski refused to postpone the local polls or call an early general election.

At the convention, the opposition cemented its decision not to take part in the vote on March 24.

In the declaration, the opposition also pledged to launch a campaign urging people not to vote at the local elections and to continue insisting on holding early general elections as soon as possible.

The opposition confirmed that its 42 legislators in the 123-seat parliament will resign on election day as a sign of protest.

It said that once it came to power, its priorities would be democratisation of the country and its EU agenda.

Meanwhile Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov expressed regret on Sunday that the opposition had “rejected” his plan for resolving the political impasse that involved setting up a team of experts whose mission would be to clarify the December 24 incidents.

“The [opposition] boycott hinders the chance given to citizens to pick the best concept and the best candidate,” Ivanov said.

The opposition’s head Branko Crvenkovski replied that “the voice of those who will not vote will be the people’s voice for the future of the country”.

Some fear that the political crisis may derail the country’s EU agenda entirely.

The EU Council has said that any decision on opening accession talks for Macedonia will be based on the next report from the European Commission.

It will assess whether Macedonia has taken real steps towards reaching a deal with Greece over its name, to which Athens objects, whether it has improved relations with Bulgaria and has carried out reforms at home.

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