SKOPJE – Political leaders of North Macedonia agreed on Sunday that an early election will be held next year, following the European Union’s decision not to begin negotiations talks, MIA reported.
After the meeting organised by President Stevo Pendarovski, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that the leaders of the main political parties had decided that the “most suitable” date for the vote is 12 April.
Zaev is expected to stand down as Prime Minister 100 days before the election, which will be prepared by the technical government. This is in line with the Przino Agreement reached by political leaders in 2015.
„The people gave us this term and this honour to lead the nation, and now it is the citizens who should decide if we are to move forward on the same track“, Zaev said, adding that the EU’s refusal to start talks is a „historic mistake“.
He called the citizens of North Macedonia to have their say about the direction the country should take next.
The head of the state Stevo Pendarovski stated that Euro-Atlantic integration is Macedonian major strategy and everyone has to work towards reaching this goal.
Pendarovski stressed that all leaders pledged to work towards to country joining the EU regardless of election results.
President of North Macedonia noted that EU didn’t block the country but instead postponed the decision until the spring, when Croatia will hold the presidency of the Council of the EU.
Pendarovski said that it is not his job to say when the elections will be held, but that he insists on consensus, and that he does not want to delay the NATO accession process due to the election.
“I insist that there must be a consensus between the government and the opposition. My initial impression is that such consent exists. Prime Minister and other members of the ruling parties have seen no desire to bypass that path of consensual bargaining”, Pendarovski said.
He noted that North Macedonia is currently in the process of joining NATO and that 24 of the 29 member states have ratified the accession protocol.
“I would not like to postpone this because I really think that after many years now, we should become a NATO member and I hope that all political leaders will take that into consideration,” Pendarovski concluded.
President VMRO–DPMNE Hristijan Mickoski said that political leaders had a fruitful debate.
„All participants of the meeting agreed that we remain committed to the Euro-Atlantic integration of the North Macedonia,“ Mickoski stated.
Attending the meeting were SDSM president Zoran Zaev, VMRO-DPMNE president Hristijan Mickoski, DUI president Ali Ahmeti, Alliance for the Albanians president Zijad Sela, Alternativa president Afrim Gashi, and Besa President Bilal Kasami.