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Macedonian Opposition Unites, at Least for Election Dates

January 27, 2006

( Research Service)- The fractious and ever burgeoning Macedonian opposition has announced its collective desire for the upcoming parliamentary elections to be held not in summer, as significant members of the ruling coalition would like, but in either spring or fall, reported A1 Television on Friday.

Speaking for over 20 opposition parties, VMRO-DPMNE chief Nikola Gruevski presented the resolution, saying that it would be “a catastrophe” if the government tried “to falsify the elections” by holding them in early July- though exactly how this timing would mean a falsification was not spelled out.

Other opposition party leaders Dosta Dimovska, Liljana Popovska and Marjan Gjorcev also signed the resolution, according to A1. When asked whether this show of unity augured a possible coalition run with VMRO-DPMNE, Popovska stated merely that “we are open for all agreements for future cooperation.”

However, there were some prominent omissions from the list of opposition parties signed on to Gruevski’s declaration. Most notable perhaps was the VMRO-Narodna breakaway party of former mentor and prime minister, Ljubco Georgievski, which was not invited, reported A1. Tito Petkovski, who similarly broke away from the ruling SDSM, was invited but did not show up. And the Democratic Alternative of Vasil Tupurkovski would not sign the declaration because of Gruevski’s selection of parties.

As for the Albanian opposition, the DPA of Arben Xhaferi stated in a letter their agreement with the manifesto but did not attend due to their ongoing boycott of Parliament, while the smaller PDP is also said to be in approval.

The ruling coalition, goaded by Ali Ahemti’s ALbanian DUI party, has been considering holding elections in early July- just in time for Albanian migrant workers to come back from their Western European residences for annual vacation/mass wedding leave.

These are the voters who, fired up by their spirit of homecoming cheer and not weighed down by actually having to live with the results of their ballots, can be mobilized strongly by the party.

Of course, summer is also the time when many people like to go on vacation elsewhere- either to Lake Ohrid or out of the country altogether, to Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Montenegro or further afield. It is extremely unlikely, scoffed one Skopje local yesterday, that any jaundiced Macedonian voter would sacrifice his hard-won vacation just to vote for “a party which is bad over another that might be worse.”

Macedonia’s Prime Minister and SDSM boss, Vlado Buckovski, has argued that no matter what happens with the election timetable, new election laws and laws on judicial reform should be implemented first.

According to MIA, Gruevski’s declaration was also signed by leaders of “the Green Party, European Party of Macedonia, Bosniak Democratic Party, Social-Democratic Party, Demo-Christian Party, Democratic Party for Orthodox Unity of Serbs and Macedonians, Justice Party, Democratic-Republican Union of Macedonia, Democratic Union, Democratic Reconstruction of Macedonia, Liberal Party, Agricultural People’s Party of Macedonia, Party of Movement of Turks, League for Democracy, TMRO, Party of Vlachs, National Movement of Macedonia, Party for Democratic Forces of Roma in Macedonia, Party for Roma Integration in Macedonia, Party for Democratic Action, Macedonian People’s Party, and a representative of the Democratic Union of Serbs.”

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