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N. Macedonia to hold elections on July 15 to back EU membership bid

N. Macedonia to hold elections on July 15 to back EU membership bid

Political parties in North Macedonia agreed on Monday to hold parliamentary elections on July 15, despite a persistent level of coronavirus infections. Nevertheless, the move is seen as a crucial step for the landlocked Balkan country’s EU membership bid.

The newest NATO member’s elections will also be a test of support for the pro-EU policies of the Social Democrats of former Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. After talks with Kristijan Mickoski, the head of the main opposition and nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party, Zaev said the country needed a functional government.

“We cannot bear a bigger crisis than this with a technical government and without a parliament,” Zaev said. He resigned in January after the EU refused to set a date for accession talks. In March, the EU said membership talks could begin with North Macedonia and Albania.

A transitional government had initially scheduled a snap parliamentary election for April 12 but postponed it due to the coronavirus which has infected 4,157 people and killed 193, Reuters said. Last week, North Macedonia lifted a state of emergency introduced in March to contain the outbreak.