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Protesters In Skopje Continue Calls For Early Macedonian Elections


Macedonian protesters wave flags while riding an excavator during a demonstration against a deal to form a new government between the Social Democrats and ethnic Albanian parties. (file photo)

SKOPJE -- Demonstrators took the streets of Macedonia's capital, Skopje, again on April 24 to protest against the proposed inclusion of ethnic Albanian parties in a governing coalition.

The demonstrators stopped outside of the headquarters of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE party and demanded early parliamentary elections -- saying a fresh vote would bring an end to the Balkan country's ongoing political crisis

Supporters of the initiative also stopped in front of Macedonia's parliament and urged lawmakers to convene an urgent session dedicated to scheduling an early general election as soon as possible.

The VMRO-DPMNE -- which won elections in December but failed to build a majority coalition -- has, for weeks, successfully blocked Social Democratic leader Zoran Zaev from enacting a coalition deal he reached with ethnic Albanian parties to form a new government.

For the last two months, protesters who are mostly VMRO-DPMNE supporters have praised President Gjorge Ivanov -- a member of the VMRO-DPMNE -- for refusing to give Zaev's coalition a mandate to form a new government, even though it holds a parliamentary majority.

The United States and European Union have called on the VMRO to stop its obstruction tactics, which have prolonged the country's long-running political crisis.

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