The elections on June 5th are a referendum for the citizens deciding the country’s future

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VMRO-­DPMNE President Nikola Gruevski said that conditions were ripe to hold fair and democratic elections onApril 24, but that his party decided to reach a compromise and postpone them to June 5 for the good of the country.

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The decision on Tuesday night came as the Parliament was set to dissolve on midnight, according to an already reached decision that was to pave way for elections on April 24, elections which the main opposition party SDSM said will boycott.

“The decision on the day of the elections was ours to make, but we also hold the responsibility for our country and our people. After long, detailed analysis and consultations, the  VMRO­-DPMNE Executive Committee reached a decision to move the election date to June 5, not in order to satisfy SDSM, because they will continue running away from the elections and will try to avoid facing the people, but in order to avoid a chance to be misunderstood by a part of our citizens and abused by those who don’t wish well for Macedonia and don’t want to see Macedonia moving forward”, Gruevski said.

US Ambassador Jess Baily and three members of the European Parliament were mediating between VMRO-DPMNE, SDSM and the two main parties representing ethnic Albanians on Tuesday in order to reach a joint agreement for the next date.

Eventually, the Parliament voted to approve June 5, with SDSM representatives abstaining from the vote, but their leader Zoran Zaev indicated that the party might take part in the polls on that day.

SDSM wanted a delay arguing there was no sufficient time to examine the voting registry and asked for a law that would fine or shut down media that are seen to report in an unbalanced way, while VMRO-DPMNE insists that SDSM are trying to avoid the elections due to their extremely poor ratings.

“The compromise to hold the elections on June 5 was reached because the US and EU representatives confirmed to us that this will be a one-­off delay, and that there are no additional negotiations on organizing the elections to be held until June 5, because even now they believe that the State Electoral Commission will have enough time to do its job regarding the electoral roll, and there will be no additional conditions, including the ones regarding the media law, or additional estimates on whether Macedonia is prepared for these elections. All issues are absorbed in the moving of the election date”, Gruevski said.

According to the VMRO-DPMNE President, his coalition partner DUI has given its firm assurances that the elections on June 5 will go ahead, regardless whether SDSM agrees to take part in them or not.

“With this delay we give a final chance to SDSM to go to the elections, and to look the people in the eyes after imposing this political crisis on them. The state can’t be held hostage by one political party”, Gruevski said.