Macedonia will hold snap parliamentary elections on December 11, an official says.
Parliament speaker, Trajko Veljanovski announced the date on Tuesday. The date had been agreed upon by political leaders in August.
The early elections are an attempt to end a seething political crisis in Macedonia, a country where top officials have been accused of widespread corruption and wiretapping among other crimes.
The crisis deepened in the Balkan state in February 2015, when Zoran Zaev, the leader of the main opposition Social Democrats, released tapes revealing scandals involving officials. The move sparked street protests by both supporters of the ruling party and the opposition. The European Union, which Macedonia seeks to join, also pressured the government to hold snap elections before the regular poll time in 2018.
Macedonia’s four major parties have all confirmed they would take part in the December elections. The government was originally to hold the elections in April but postponed the polls until June before rescheduling it again after the opposition claimed that the situation was not ripe for holding a free and fair vote.
Many believe the political turmoil in Macedonia is the result of rivalry between the West and Russia over gaining influence in FYROM, or the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The country has a population of 2.1 million with a majority of ethnic Macedonians and a one-quarter minority of ethnic Albanians, who demand recognition of their rights.
The Macedonian government has been seeking a place in the EU since 2005, but the continental body has ignored demands for opening accession talks.