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Macedonian PM Resigns, Opposition Threatens Election Boycott

Former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski

The Macedonian parliament has confirmed the resignation of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and voted to dissolve parliament on February 24.

The resignation was announced on January 18 by the president of the Macedonian parliament, Trajko Velkanovaki, and is the result of a deal reached by Gruevski's ruling VMRO-DPMNE and other coalition parties and the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) in June.

The EU-mediated agreement says the resignation had to occur within 100 days of early parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for April 24.

Emil Dimitriev, a senior member of the VMRO-DPMNE, was named caretaker prime minister until elections.

But the SDSM said in a statement they will only participate in the elections if there is free media in Macedonia and an updated list of registered voters is created.

The ruling coalition and the Social Democrats did not reach an agreement on these issues during a visit to Skopje by EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn on January 16.

Macedonia spent months in a political crisis last year after the SDSM accused Gruevski's government of illegally eavesdropping on over 20,000 people in Macedonia.

The charges came shortly after SDSM leader Zoran Zaev was charged by the government of planning a coup attempt.