European Western Balkans

North Macedonia ends the state of emergency, parties disagree over the election date

Skopje; Photo: Pixabay

SKOPJE – President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski said on Friday that despite an ongoing spike of COVID-19 infections, there was no “necessity” in prolonging the state of emergency that has been in place since March 18.

According to Balkan Insight, Pendarovski said that if need be, even without a state of emergency, there were still legal grounds to maintain such preventive measures as curfews, quarantines or crisis situations in parts or in the whole of the country.

The lifting of the state of emergency has put the new election date in focus – the snap poll was originally scheduled for 12 April, but it was postponed due to the pandemic.

“North Macedonia ends the state of emergency That means back to normal parliamentary legitimacy and that the citizens decide about the future. According to the law, elections must take place at the beginning of July”, tweeted Member of European Parliament Andreas Schieder, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for North Macedonia.

The holding of elections (under strict hygiene standards) is the necessary next step. The date is in itself set by law. All parties should agree on a short and fair election campaign, he added, stressing that tactical skirmishes about dates are harmful to democracy.

However, there is still no agreement among party leaders on the exact date of the election. While the ruling SDSM originally proposed 5 or 8 July, leader of the opposition Hristijan Mickoski said that his party would boycott the election if it is held on one of those dates.

According to META, VMRO-DPMNE demands that the protocols that will protect the health of citizens are made. The biggest opposition party stated that the earliest acceptable time for the election date is the middle of July.

Several media outlets reported that the proposal for a compromise is on the table, meaning that the election could be held on 10, 11 or 12 July.

OSCE / ODIHR observers announced that they would send observers after 19 June, in line with the proposed date of 5 July.

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