Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

Four largest parties continue talks on organizing early elections

bejli

Representatives of the four largest parties will continue their talks on Wednesday on outstanding issues that prevent holding early elections. With the mediation of EU and US Ambassadors to Macedonia, representatives from VMRO­DPMNE, SDSM, DUI and DPA focus on the registry of voters and on proposed media reforms, that SDSM has raised as conditions for its participation in future elections.

Following the meeting on Tuesday evening, US Ambassador Jess Baily said that good progress has been made, but there is no agreement reached yet. Baily said he is not disappointed and sometimes talks take more time. The meetings come following a visit by US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland who met with party leaders and said she is optimistic agreement can be reached in the coming days.

Holding early elections was part of the political agreement reached last summer, but the vote was delayed from April to June 2016, and eventually cancelled as SDSM refused to participate. SDSM demands media regulation which VMRO-­DPMNE considers introduction of censorship, and changes to the way in which the voting registry is examined. VMRO-­DPMNE wants SDSM to firmly commit to an election date and to avoid the situation in which SDSM members are introduced in the Government, ostensibly to help organize the elections, but then elections are postponed indefinitely. SDSM raised the prospect of holding elections in November, but VMRO-­DPMNE remain wary after the earlier delays.

The outcome of the talks is also expected to affect this Autumn’s EU progress report, and the possibility of Macedonia opening EU accession talks. Talks are held between Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Todorov, Radmila Sekerinska, who is Vice President of SDSM, Artan Grubi as representative of the DUI party and Imer Aliu for DPA