Macedonia formally scheduled early elections for June 5, despite growing turmoil and pressure from the opposition for a delay in the interest of a fair vote.
Parliamentary Speaker Trajko Veljanovski confirmed Friday the date for the elections, which had been pushed back from April 24.
The main opposition party, the Social Democratic Union (SDSM), promised to boycott the elections, insisting that the entire electoral framework is rigged in favour of the ruling VMRO party.
The elections halfway through VMRO leader and longtime Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's term were agreed upon last year as part of an EU-brokered package between him and SDSM leader Zoran Zaev that aimed to resolve the crippling political deadlock.
However, the long-running crisis took a turn for the worse this week after President Gorge Ivanov announced that he was pardoning all politicians implicated in wiretapping and corruption, spurring the opposition to stage violent protests every night since.