GRUEVSKI CALLS JUNE ELECTIONS
Gruevski must now submit his proposal to parliament, which will dissolve itself and officially set the date for polls, both mere formalities because Gruevski's ruling VMRO DPMNE holds an overwhelming majority in the assembly.
“The elections will be fair, free and democratic. Those who try to obstruct them will be fiercely punished by the institutions,” Gruevski said, adding that he is confident in election victory.
The prime minister made the announcement at a press conference in Skopje on Wednesday, just hours after the main opposition party dropped its demands for the poll.
Earlier on Wednesday, Social Democrat leader Branko Crvenkovski told Gruevski in his own press conference: “You just state the day of elections and we are there”.
The party said it had withdrawn its demands that certain conditions be met before elections are held, though it did not end its boycott of parliament.
The opposition and the ruling party had reached agreement on the need for fresh elections, but could not agree on a date for the polls.
In addition, the Social Democrats had asked for a revision of the voters list and the electoral units in order to ensure a fair election process and eliminate possibility for fraud, as well as the adoption of a law that would prevent the state from favouring certain media outlets by directing all its advertisement money to them.
In meetings last week, opposition and government leaders reached agreement in principle on those three demands.
Prime Minister Gruevski could not agree to a third demand- the unfreezing of the bank account of A1 TV, a critically inclined media that the opposition claims Gruevski wants to shut down- saying he cannot influence the court.
“On one hand, you will have your laws, your electoral roll, your media and your money for buying votes but we will win because we have the people on our side,” Crvenkovski said on Wednesday.
The opposition began a parliament boycott in late January. It has since increased calls for early elections, blaming Gruevski’s VMRO DPMNE for curbing democracy and media freedom and stalling the country’s economic and political progress.
Gruevski has been in power since 2006. He further strenghtened his position after winning a landslide victory at the 2008 snap polls.