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Macedonia Sets Date For Parliamentary Elections

Protesters in Macedonia's "colorful revolution" have spray-painted government buildings to demand a clean sweep of the government.

Macedonia's parliament has set December 11 as the date for snap parliamentary elections to try to end a long-running political crisis.

All four main parties confirmed on October 18 that they will take part in the elections that had been initially planned for April and rescheduled for June before being delayed again over opposition claims that conditions are not ripe for a free and fair vote.

The Balkan state has been in crisis since February 2015, when the leader of the main opposition party, Zoran Zaev of the Social Democrats, began releasing tapes that appeared to reveal official and widespread wiretapping, including of journalists and politicians.

The tapes also appeared to have uncovered corruption among high-ranking officials, including former conservative Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

After a string of demonstrations, the European Union stepped in to mediate a deal, urging early elections and an independent probe into the corruption allegations revealed by the tapes.

The polls could pull Macedonia out of political crisis provided that "the campaign is fair and elections credible," EU delegation chief Samuel Zbogar said.

Political leaders had already agreed on the December 11 date, but it was not officially approved by parliament until October 18.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa