SKOPJE, Macedonia – Macedonia's prime minister has turned down an opposition demand for early parliamentary elections on March 24 to end a political stalemate.
Nikola Gruevski on Tuesday said he "publicly, firmly, decisively" rejects the idea.
The main opposition Social Democrats want the ballot to be held together with scheduled local elections next month, to end a political deadlock after a stormy budget debate in December.
The Social Democrats have threatened to boycott the local elections unless Gruevski accepts their demand.
The opposition has boycotted Parliament since the Christmas Eve budget debate, which was marred by clashes between rival lawmakers and supporters.
The Social Democrats are angry because their lawmakers were expelled from the debate, where they accused the governing conservatives of wasting public money.
Gruevski's mandate ends in about two years.