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    Macedonian then Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski gives a joint press conference with his Hungarian counterpart (not pictured) at the delegation hall of the parliament building in Budapest on November 20, 2015.

    Macedonia's Former PM Rejects US-EU Call to Postpone Election

    © AFP 2019 / Attila Kisbenedek
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    Macedonia's incumbent government have rejected US and EU calls for the country to postpone its national elections scheduled for April, after Washington and Brussels raised concerns over electoral reform, voter intimidation and media bias in the Balkan country.

    The ambassadors to Skpoje, EU's Aivo Orav and America's Jess Baily, issued a joint letter to interim Macedonian Prime Minister Emil Dimitriev, arguing that the April 24 vote should be postponed, in favor of a vote on June 5.

    "The findings of all relevant experts indicate that at this stage the necessary conditions are not in place for organizing credible elections on 24 April," the letter read.

    The ambassadors said "an agreement has not yet been reached on media reforms, to ensure a more level playing field," while they also raised concerns about "reports of pressure and intimidation of voters."

    The April 24 date for elections was initially agreed upon by the US and EU officials during talks in January, known as the Przino Agreement.

    However, the ambassadors say that a number of elements of the Prinzo Agreement have not yet been implemented, leading to calls for a postponement of the vote.

    The US and EU intervention is not legally binding in Macedonia, with incumbent Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's VMRO-DPMNE party rejecting the request, saying there is "not a single credible argument" for postponing the election date.

    Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski announces his resignation in front of the media, at the Government building in Skopje, Macedonia, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016.
    © AP Photo / Boris Grdanoski
    Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski announces his resignation in front of the media, at the Government building in Skopje, Macedonia, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016.

    While Macedonia is working towards eventual EU membership, and many support the country's quest to join the bloc, others share a deep sense of skepticism towards European and American involvement in national affairs.

    Macedonian protester hold signs with the picture of Macedonia's Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski during an opposition rally in capital Skopje on Sunday, May 17, 2015, demanding his resignation.
    © AP Photo / Visar Kryeziu
    Macedonian protester hold signs with the picture of Macedonia's Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski during an opposition rally in capital Skopje on Sunday, May 17, 2015, demanding his resignation.

    The intervention from Washington and Brussels comes after a turbulent 2015 in Macedonia, where Gruevski was faced with widespread calls to step down over allegations of state spying.

    Gruevski and his VMRO-DPMNE party rejected the allegations, claiming that tapes purportedly exposing his guilt were fabricated.

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    advice, Western meddling, vote, politics, elections, intervention, European Union, Nikola Gruevski, Skopje, Europe, United States, Macedonia
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