Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski has called on opposition leader Branko Crvenkovski to challenge the ruling party in early elections. He called on the opposition to immediately stop its parliament boycott in order to vote on the new election law so that snap polls can be called “as soon as possible”.
“He [Crvenkovski] says that we were not supported by the people. Let’s see who has the support from the people in elections,” Gruevski said in an interview for the local Sitel TV.
Gruevski argued that the opposition boycott is damaging the country’s efforts to push through reforms.
“As prime minister I feel responsible to end this damage,” Gruevski said. He called upon the Social Democrats not to reject the snap polls that they have demanded on several occasions.
The opposition, meanwhile, have not yet said whether they will accept early elections.
“The Social Democrats stand ready to win the first popular elections. This unpopular regime has to go. We will announce our official stance tomorrow,” the member of the Social Democrats executive board, Jani Makraduli, told media on Sunday after the prime minister made his statement.
The opposition Social Democrats of Crvenkovski, along with several other opposition parties, left the parliament in late January. They accused Gruevski of curbing democratic freedoms, deliberately keeping the country away from NATO and EU and failing to deliver economic recovery.
The opposition has regularly called for early elections over the past several months, but has demanded that certain preconditions be met before the polls are set. They have demanded changes to the election law and judiciary reforms, threatening to boycott any call for early elections if these conditions are not met.