Turkey welcomes Macedonia’s early election decision
Zoran Zaev, center, the leader of the opposition social democrats, rises his fist during a protest in front of the Government building in Skopje, Macedonia, on Sunday, May 17, 2015. AP PhotoTurkey June 4 welcomed Macedonia’s decision to hold elections in order to contain a political crisis enveloping the country.
Political leaders in the former Yugoslav republic announced June 2 a fresh election in April 2016 to resolve a crisis sparked by a wiretapping scandal that has allegedly revealed high-level government corruption.
“The move is considered appropriate to resolve the domestic political crisis the country has been witnessing for some time, within the scope of democratic rules, the superiority of law and dialogue,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We hope the early elections will be conducted in a spirit of reconciliation and in a respectful environment, which we believe will contribute to reinforcing democracy in the country,” it added.
Macedonia’s last parliamentary election was held in April last year, when Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski won a fourth consecutive four-year term.
The agreement followed talks between Gruevski, opposition leader Zoran Zaev and the leaders of the two ethnic Albanian parties.
In addition to the bugging scandal, political discontent in the form of large-scale demonstrations in capital Skopje was fuelled by a two-day battle between security forces and ethnic Albanian gunmen last month that left 22 dead.
Zaev has claimed that Gruevski was behind the mass wiretapping of more than 20,000 figures that allegedly showed the government’s financial mismanagement, unfounded prosecutions of opponents and attempted cover-ups of killings.
Gruevski has rejected the claims and has accused Zaev of plotting to overthrow the government.
Last month, the interior and transport ministers, along with the country’s intelligence chief, who are all close allies of Gruevski, stood down in a bid to ease tensions.