Macedonian opposition leader Zoran Zaev adresses to media in front of the Macedonian Government building in Skopje on May 27,2015
Skopje (AFP) - The opposition leader in crisis-hit Macedonia said Friday he was confident that a general election scheduled for early June would not go ahead, and the Balkan country’s dissolved parliament was likely to reconvene soon.
In an interview with AFP, Zoran Zaev said the snap poll scheduled for June 5 should be postponed until conditions for a free and fair vote have been met, possibly in the autumn.
Parliament was dissolved last month to make way for the election as part of an EU-brokered deal to end a national political crisis, but Zaev's Social Democrats (SDSM) and two other key parties have refused to register candidates.
"I know that election will not be on 5th June," based on discussions between the international community and political parties, Zaev said. "We know together elections will be postponed."
The 41-year-old spoke to AFP after meeting a special envoy from Germany, Johannes Haindl, who is helping to resolve the crisis.
Zaev said he expected that all political parties would from early next week “invite the president of the parliament to announce a session of the parliament” according to Macedonian law.
He said the electoral commission would also likely announce "that conditions for elections are not fulfilled".
The crisis in the landlocked nation of two million people erupted in February last year when Zaev began releasing tapes that appeared to reveal official wire-tapping of 20,000 Macedonians, including politicians and journalists, and high-level corruption.
The government, led by then premier Nikola Gruevski of the VMRO-DPMNE party, denied the explosive allegations and accused Zaev of "spying" and attempting to "destabilise" Macedonia.
The scandal sparked major protests both for and against the government in the deeply divided country, leading the European Union to step in and mediate.
According the deal reached last summer, Macedonia was to prepare for a free and fair vote in late April, but this was postponed until June after the opposition threatened to boycott over concerns about fraud.
In another shock twist a month ago, President Gjorge Ivanov -- an ally of Gruevski -- pardoned more than 50 public figures involved in the wiretapping scandal, sparking further ongoing protests and international condemnation.
Zaev and his supporters want the pardon revoked, accusing the ruling party of abusing its power and clamping down on media freedoms, rights and democracy.
“They control everything,” said Zaev, whose concerns include the cleaning up of voter lists.
Local opinion polls nevertheless show Gruevski easily retains more support among Macedonians, and Zaev’s critics say he is reluctant to stand because he would lose.
Zaev insisted that if the conditions are fulfilled: "Autumn is good for us because it’s good for the country to have quicker elections".