North Macedonia sets dates for double elections

North Macedonia sets dates for double elections
# 05 December 2023 03:05 (UTC +04:00)

A meeting between the leaders of nearly all parliamentary political parties in North Macedonia on Monday in Skopje finally agreed dates for the next elections, APA reports citing Balkan Insight.

The first round of presidential elections will take place on April 24 and, two weeks later, on May 8, parliamentary elections will be held in parallel with the presidential run-off.

“I express my satisfaction that we will have the first parliamentary elections in a regular term after 17 years. The last ones were in 2006. This means that this government has created additional stability, predictability and certainty,” Social Democratic Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski said after the meeting.

He was referring to the practice established by former VMRO DPMNE PM Nikola Gruevski, whose party came to power in 2006 and was ousted in mid-2017 after a deep political crisis, of always calling snap general elections to catch his opponents off-guard.

During the Social Democratic tenure in office, the last general election was again held in an irregular term, in the middle of 2020, due to postponements caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Hristijan Mickoski, leader of the right-wing opposition VMRO DPMNE party, confirmed the agreement. “We will certainly win, regardless of the date,” Mickoski said.

The deal comes after a prolonged disagreement between the two main political blocs over the exact election dates.

For nearly two years, the opposition has called for snap elections as soon as possible, claiming the government has been delegitimized by betraying national interests and by fostering widespread corruption.

The government has responded that it wll grant the wish of the opposition on condition that they support a key constitutional change, currently in parliamentary procedure, that would see the country’s Bulgarian minority mentioned in the preamble in the list of state-founding peoples.