“The leader of Macedonia’s opposition is urging the government to break off a deal to change the country’s name and to call early elections.

Hristijan Mickoski, head of the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, said a caretaker government should be installed until elections are held, which he said should happen in late November.

“Macedonia is entering a new political crisis. The solution is catastrophic and unacceptable both for VMRO-DPMNE and the majority of citizens. A new crisis will completely destroy the economy,” he said.” (RFE/RL)

“An appeals court in Macedonia has upheld a lower court’s sentencing of former conservative Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski to two years in jail for unlawfully influencing officials over the purchase of a luxury bulletproof vehicle.

A court in May found that Gruevski, who led the government from 2006 to 2016, had put pressure on Interior Ministry officials in the 2012 purchase of his Mercedes at an estimated cost of 600,000 euros (around $700,000).” (RFE/RL)

“Skopje is the new Russian stronghold on the Balkans, and the Kremlin counts on Macedonia to become the new Republika Srpska entity, American analyst Janusz Bugajski.

‘If Macedonia’s path to Western institutions is blocked, national tensions will rise in the entire region. The Kremlin will invest additional energy to threaten the fragile democratic achievements in the Western Balkans making the EU and NATO even more unattainable,’ the analyst said.

Speaking to Montenegrin ‘Pobjeda’ daily, Bugajski said the low turnout brought the Agreement with Greece on Macedonia’s name change into question, as well as the country’s EU and NATO accession process.

‘If the agreement doesn’t receive the necessary support, the country will be exposed to ethnic radicalisation, regional instability and Moscow’s interference,’ Bugajski noted. ‘The only way out for (Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran) Zaev would be the early election in November, even though this would also be a risky move considering that nationalists were encouraged by the referendum boycott.'” (N1)