Macedonia Opposition Ends Blockade of 'Name' Referendum

Macedonia's main opposition VMRO DPMNE party has agreed to stop blocking the appointments of members of the State Electoral Commission, DIK, in exchange for a provision guaranteeing the formation of a technical government 100 days ahead of any future elections, to ensure their fairness and regularity.

The breakthrough followed Monday's marathon meeting between the leaders of the four main political parties, which was dedicated to unclogging preparations for a referendum on the historic agreement with Greece, which - if successful - would remove the key obstacles on the country's Euro-Atlantic accession path.

"We agreed to stop the [government-proposed] procedure for appointments of DIK members, through changes in the electoral law, and to bring back the old procedure," VMRO DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickovski said after the meeting.

After weeks of VMRO DPMNE blockades on the work of the parliamentary commission on appointments, the Social Democrats-led government last week set out to resolve this problem by changing the electoral law.

The changes, which will now be scrapped, were designed to circumvent the opposition-led parliamentary commission and lower the parliamentary majority required for appointments of DIK members, so the opposition cannot block the process further.

"We accepted VMRO DPMNE's demand for legal changes that will allow formation of a technical government to organize [future] general elections," the Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev told reporters.

However, the two sides have yet to agree key details on the forthcoming referendum, including its date, the referendum question and - arguably the most important issue - whether the opposition, which opposes the Greek agreement,...

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