Macedonia's Early Elections Postponed Indefinitely

Southeast Europe | May 19, 2016, Thursday // 10:25|  views

File photo, EPA/BGNES

Macedonian lawmakers backed a ruling by the country's election watchdog under which the snap election initially scheduled for June 05 will be indefinitely postponed.

The Central Electoral Commission (DIK)'s move was triggered by the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) party which challenged the legitimacy of a decision to dissolve Parliament.

At their Tuesday session MPs passed a motion to confirm that preparation for the election is to be frozen, with no new date set, local media report.

The Assembly of Macedonia was reconvened the same day by Trajko Veljanovski, more than a month after it was dissolved after a date was determined for the vote.

Macedonia was rocked by a political scandal over the past months, with some political parties and thousands of protesters demanding that the snap vote be postponed.

Prospects to hold the election were dim also due to the fact that only one party, VMRO-DPMNE, which has dominated Macedonian politics for more than a decade, had registered for the vote.

EU officials had already called the vote results' legitimacy into question. After DIK's announcement, the US Embassy in Macedonia released a press statement describing the move as " a renewed opportunity for the Parliament and the political leaders to demonstrate through actions a firm commitment to the Przino Agreement and its principles -- rule of law, accountability, inclusiveness, and credible elections."

The United States also called for a reversal of "the April 12 pardons", in a reference to Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov's decision to grant a blanket amnesty on  dozens of politicians and other officials involved in a massive wiretapping affair. The latter decision sparked outrage in society, leading to the so-called "Colorful Revolution" with many protesting daily in the streets of Skopje and other cities.

According to news website MKD, socialist opposition SDSM and DUI have already proposed that the the amnesty ruling be revoked.

Separately, Germany's recently appointed special envoy to Macedonia, Johannes Haindl, is set to arrive in Macedonia to broker new talks among political parties, according to MIA news agency.

The Przino agreement, reached in 2015 through EU and US mediation, paved the way for the snap vote and for political stabilization, in an attempt to find a way out of the crisis Macedonia slid into last year.

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Tags: macedonia, early election, VMRO-DPMNE, Gjorge Ivanov, Trajko Veljanovski

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