BELGRADE – EU Council President Donald Tusk warned FYROM (Macedonia) today not to let its political crisis risk its ties with the European Union and NATO, EurActiv.com reports.
“Europe needs a stable FYROM guided by the rule of law. The country’s Euro-Atlantic future is at risk,” Tusk said on Twitter, referring to the EU-accepted way to call the country “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.
Macedonia confirmed today it will hold snap polls on June 5, despite days of angry anti-government protests and opposition calls for a delay as the country grapples with a bitter political crisis.
The date was officially set after demonstrators took to the streets in protest at President Gjorge Ivanov’s decision to halt probes into more than 50 public figures, including top politicians, embroiled in a wire-tapping scandal.
“Based on my constitutional and legal authority… I today signed the decision to call early elections… on June 5, 2016,” Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski said in a statement.
The early elections, originally agreed for 24 April and then postponed in February to 5 June, are part of an EU-brokered agreement to solve the seething political feud.
Neighbourhood commissioner Johannes Hahn said he doubts if credible elections are still possible.
Zoran Zaev, leader of the main opposition SDSM, has already said his party will boycott the election, claiming that conditions for a free and fair vote have not been met.
Thousands of people, mainly SDSM supporters, took to the streets on Thursday in a mostly peaceful protest, demanding Ivanov either revoke his decision or resign, as well calling for the election to be postponed.
New protests were announced for Friday afternoon.
Macedonia’s political crisis kicked off last year when the SDSM accused then prime minister Nikola Gruevski of wiretapping some 20,000 people, including politicians and journalists, and said the recordings revealed high-level corruption.