Key Partner in Macedonia Govt Calls for ProtestsSoutheast Europe | May 15, 2015, Friday // 10:04| views
Last week's anti-government protests in Skopje resulted in a number of people being detained. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Ali Ahmeti, the main coalition partner to PM Nikola Gruevski's government in Macedonia, has openly called on citizens to attend peaceful protests.
"All of you, take to the streets to protest on Sunday," BGNES wire service quotes him as saying in an interview with Alsat-M TV channel.
Ahmeti chairs the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), an ethnic Albanian party whose critics have often accused it of traditionally siding with Gruevski's VMRO-DPMNE on a number of issues, rather than catering for the electorate.
According to Macedonian daily Utrinski Vesnik, he also claimed he had taken part in negotiations with the gunmen who carried out the attack in Kumanovo last week.
This comes after leaders of the country's four largest political parties (VMRO-DPMNE, SDSM, DUI and another Albanian party, the DPA) met on Thursday afternoon, failing to agree on measures to to tackle the political crisis of the past months, which deepened with street protests and a deadly attack in the town of Kumanovo which claimed the lives of eight police officers.
Leaders are set to meet again on Monday. SDSM, the main opposition party led by Zoran Zaev which has been at the helm of attacks on the government since early this year, demands that the cabinet step down and an interim government be formed.
But PM Nikola Gruevski reiterated he would not resign to pave the way for a transitional government, insisting Macedonians had already thrown clearly their support for him during the elections held last year.
The next protests, on the other hand, are currently not organized by the opposition by by a movement called "Citizens for Macedonia".
Scheduled for May 17, they come just days after demonstrations against the cabinet had been provisionally called off by civic movements (a move supported by Zaev as well) to pay respect to victims of the attack in Kumanovo instead.
Ahmeti is one of the coalition partners to Gruevski, alongside the GROM party which has only two seats in the legislature.
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