Macedonia’s parliament voted on Monday to dissolve itself as of Feb. 24, clearing the way to an early parliamentary election two months later that the opposition says it will boycott. The ruling VMRO-DPMNE moved ahead with plans to hold the poll on April 24, in line with a deal brokered by the European Union mid-last year to end a bitter standoff over allegations against the conservative government of illegal phone-tapping and widespread abuse of office. But the Social Democrats, the biggest opposition party, said they would not take part, effectively prolonging a political crisis that erupted in January 2015 when party leader Zoran Zaev began releasing a slew of damaging wire-taps.
Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski last week tendered his resignation and lawmakers on Monday verified it and voted to dissolve parliament effective Feb. 24. Gruevski said his party would move ahead with an election on April 24, confident of victory despite the wire-tap scandal. VMRO-DPMNE secretary general Emil Dimitriev, an ally of Gruevski, was voted in as caretaker prime minister until the election.
“Our state is moving forward decisively to end this political crisis and move bravely towards the future,” Gruevski told reporters after meeting his coalition partners. “This begins with the April 24 election.”
After almost a decade in power, Gruevski’s government was rocked last year by allegations of illegal surveillance, meddling in the media and judiciary, rigging elections and appointing party faithful to public sector jobs.