Macedonia inches towards snap polls with purge of tainted voter roll

Macedonian authorities on Tuesday began purging the electoral rolls, a step towards the already twice-delayed early polls agreed to a year ago as the way out of a crippling political crisis.

The State Election Commission published a list of 40,000 voters who may have died but remain in the electoral register. Without proof that they are alive, their records will be scrubbed in one month.

The records of an additional 170,000 voters believed to have permanently left the country must also be checked, according to the commission.

The registry clean-up, affecting up to 11 per cent of the 1.8 million voters, is one of the key demands of the opposition, which has claimed that the nationalist VMRO party – in power since 2006 - won 2014 elections through manipulation.

The impasse escalated into a full-blown crisis, threatening the country's fragile stability, when Social Democratic opposition accused former prime minister and VMRO leader Nikola Gruevski of illegally wiretapping 20,000 people in order to control them.

Through EU and US mediation, VMRO and the opposition agreed to end the crisis through snap elections in April. But with the implementation of the agreed-upon measures behind schedule, the elections were first postponed to June, then once again indefinitely.

The deal to verify the voter registry, reached in another round of negotiations held under Western pressure, could possibly pave the way for elections in December.

Last update: Tue, 26/07/2016 - 20:30
Author: 

More from Balkan

Bosnian businesses expand halal production, eye exports

 Bosnian banks, food producers and hoteliers are adopting halal standards to tap a fast-growing market thanks to the...

Greek court blocks extradition of a further two Turkish soldiers

The legal tug-of-war regarding the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers from Greece continues.

Bosnia FM for defusing arguments with Croatia

Croatia remains an important neighbour and unavoidable partner to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and all problems in...

Ambassador Del Vechio says Bosnia's stability is Croatia's key interest

Croatia strongly supports the stability and integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and it will do everything in its...

Prodded by EU, Macedonia seeks to end deep crisis with snap poll

Macedonians vote Sunday in early parliamentary elections that the European Union brokered between feuding local...