North Macedonia Prime Minister Calls for Snap Elections

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said on Saturday that "swift snap elections" should be held "as soon as possible" after France refused to give up its opposition to giving North Macedonia a start date for EU membership talks.

In a televised address, Zaev did not name a date for the polls, but insisted that now was the time for the key decision about the future course of the country to be delegated to voters.

He said he would put forward this position at Sunday's scheduled meeting between top political party leaders at the presidential office.

"Now what we need is your stance, because we have no time to lose," Zaev said in his message to the electorate.

"Citizens must decide which path we will take in the future - the correct, progressive European path, the path of reforms, or the path that leads backwards, towards isolation, nationalism, conflicts," he added.

Commenting on continuing local media speculation that elections could take place in December, March or possibly May, Zaev said that he has no personal preference at the moment and that the date will be agreed with all the political players, including the opposition and the smaller parties.

His announcement came after France's opposition denied a start date for EU accession talks to North Macedonia and fellow Balkan state Albania, following several days of wrangling at the European Council.

The development appeared to leave EU enlargement policy in a state of confusion.

"The European Council will revert to the issue of enlargement before the EU-Western Balkans summit in Zagreb in May 2020," was the only official statement on the issue from the European Council meeting.

Zaev said that he felt "disappointed and angry" and called it a "huge historic mistake on the...

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