A Macedonian election scheduled for early June was mired in uncertainty Thursday after three of the four main political parties declined to register candidates, saying conditions for credible polls had not been met.
The party boycotts came after a month of anti-government protests, dubbed a “Colorful Revolution”, which have seen demonstrators splatter government buildings and monuments in the capital Skopje with brightly-colored paint.
Two ethnic Albanian parties have joined the main opposition SDSM party in refusing to take part in the early election, which was called last month as part of an EU-brokered deal to end a political crisis in the Balkan country.
The three parties declined to register candidates before a midnight deadline, meaning the ruling VMRO-DPMNE would be the only major party to stand.
“We are not going to submit lists of MPs,” said Bujar Osmani from the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) ahead of the deadline.
Luan Tresi from the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) also confirmed his party’s boycott, saying the “minimum conditions for holding credible elections” were not in place.
The DUI and DPA represent Macedonia’s ethnic Albanians, around a quarter of the country’s two million people, and the DUI is the junior partner in the coalition government.
The crisis in Macedonia erupted last year when the SDSM accused then prime minister Nikola Gruevski of wiretapping some 20,000 people, including politicians and journalists, and said the recordings revealed high-level corruption.