Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska expressed hope that the delays in Macedonia’s NATO accession will not affect the early general elections planned for April 2020.

We’ve worked on EU and NATO membership for 30 years and these priorities come above all. I absolutely believe that we should do all in our power to begin the preparations for the general elections and I hope that will happen, Sekerinska said.

Macedonia is a few countries short of having its NATO accession protocol fully ratified, but the political crisis in Spain has postponed the process, and Prime Minister Zaev raised the possibility of delaying the elections if the Spanish ratification comes while the Macedonian Parliament is dissolved between February and April. The Netherlands ratified Macedonia’s accession today and only Spain and France remain to do so. Spain currently has a Parliament, although it may not last long as there is no working majority, but it could ratify Macedonia’s NATO accession before our Parliament dissolves on February 11th.

SDSM is down in the polls following a series of major corruption scandals, and the Government’s failure to translate the humiliating name change into EU accession talks. Zaev was pressed to allow the early general elections after his failure to secure the EU accession talks date, but since then he said he will have them postponed if the NATO accession is not ratified in time for the elections.