As the ruling SDSM party is expected to discuss calling for early general elections in April/May, deputy Prime Minister Bujar Osmani from its coalition partner DUI said that they will respect the SDSM decision

Our priority is to complete the process to begin EU accession talks. Early general elections would complicate that process. In principle we are against elections, but if SDSM decides in favor, we won’t be against. But, we send a message to all political parties that now is the time to focus on the reform agenda and begin accession talks this year, Osmani said on Friday.

DUI lost much of its group in Parliament due to Albanian tactical voting in favor of SDSM in 2016, which made SDSM the second largest, or even largest Albanian party in Macedonia, and Osmani said that DUI would benefit from early elections. As SDSM continues to lose ethnic Macedonian voters, the two ruling parties are enhancing their competition for the Albanian vote.

Meanwhile, the two parties are discussing having a joint presidential candidate. Osmani said that DUI will insist on this, as he said, “consensual candidate”, regardless whether early general elections are also called.