April 15, 2016 / 9:16 AM / 3 years ago

Macedonia sets general election for June 5

SKOPJE (Reuters) - Macedonia called an early parliamentary election for June 5 on Friday after lawmakers dissolved parliament as part of an EU-brokered deal to end months of political deadlock linked to a wire-tapping scandal.

“Today I signed the decision to call early elections that should be held on June 5, 2016,” parliament speaker Trajko Veljanovski said.

“I believe everyone involved in the electoral process will contribute to the elections passing in a peaceful and democratic atmosphere and that every one of us on June 5 will fulfill their right to vote,” he said in a statement.

The opposition has already said it will boycott the election, intended to help end a political crisis caused by the revelation last year of extensive wire-tapping.

However, the crisis deepened this week when President Gjorge Ivanov granted an amnesty to 56 officials alleged to be involved in the scandal.

Macedonia’s ruling party said in a statement on Friday it would suggest to the three other largest parties that they all write to Ivanov to ask him to review his decision.

The pardon caused concern in Europe and the United States and led Johannes Hahn, the EU commissioner responsible for relations with would-be member states such as Macedonia, to question whether credible elections were still possible.

The pardon led to three nights of protests on the streets of the Macedonian capital. Five police officers were injured by stone-throwing on Thursday night, a police official said.

Reporting by Kole Casule and Ivana Sekularac; editing by Adrian Croft

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