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Macedonia to hold early elections by end of April to resolve political crisis, leaders decide

  • EU commissioner for Neighborhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, center, talks for the media after his meeting with the leaders of the four most relevant parties in Macedonia at the EU Ambassador’s residence in Skopje, Macedonia, on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. Macedonia should hold early elections by the end of April next year, EU commissioner Hahn said after the talks with Macedonia’s four top political leaders in Skopje on Tuesday.  Hahn has arrived in Skopje on Tuesday to facilitate current political crises that is disturbing the country for months. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

    EU commissioner for Neighborhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, center, talks for the media after his meeting with the leaders of the four most relevant parties in Macedonia at the EU Ambassador’s residence in Skopje, Macedonia, on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. Macedonia should hold early elections by the end of April next year, EU commissioner Hahn said after the talks with Macedonia’s four top political leaders in Skopje on Tuesday. Hahn has arrived in Skopje on Tuesday to facilitate current political crises that is disturbing the country for months. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)  (The Associated Press)

  • EU commissioner for Neighborhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, center, talks for the media in presence of the leader of Macedonian opposition Social Democrats Zoran Zaev, second from right, Macedonian Prime Minister and leader of the VMRO-DPMNE conservative party Nikola Gruevski, second from left, the leader of the Democratic Union for Integrations Ali Ahmeti, left and the leader of the Democratic Party of the Albanians Menduh Thaci, center rear, after their meeting at the EU Ambassador’s residence in Skopje, Macedonia, on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. Macedonia should hold early elections by the end of April next year, EU commissioner Hahn said after the talks with Macedonia’s four top political leaders in Skopje on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

    EU commissioner for Neighborhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, center, talks for the media in presence of the leader of Macedonian opposition Social Democrats Zoran Zaev, second from right, Macedonian Prime Minister and leader of the VMRO-DPMNE conservative party Nikola Gruevski, second from left, the leader of the Democratic Union for Integrations Ali Ahmeti, left and the leader of the Democratic Party of the Albanians Menduh Thaci, center rear, after their meeting at the EU Ambassador’s residence in Skopje, Macedonia, on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. Macedonia should hold early elections by the end of April next year, EU commissioner Hahn said after the talks with Macedonia’s four top political leaders in Skopje on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)  (The Associated Press)

  • Media representatives, under an EU branded umbrella, attend a news conference of the EU commissioner for Neighborhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn following his meeting with the leaders of the four most relevant parties in Macedonia at the EU Ambassador’s residence in Skopje, Macedonia, on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. Macedonia should hold early elections by the end of April next year, EU commissioner Hahn said after the talks with Macedonia’s four top political leaders in Skopje on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

    Media representatives, under an EU branded umbrella, attend a news conference of the EU commissioner for Neighborhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn following his meeting with the leaders of the four most relevant parties in Macedonia at the EU Ambassador’s residence in Skopje, Macedonia, on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. Macedonia should hold early elections by the end of April next year, EU commissioner Hahn said after the talks with Macedonia’s four top political leaders in Skopje on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)  (The Associated Press)

The European Union's enlargement commissioner says Macedonia's four political leaders have agreed to hold early elections by the end of April 2016 to resolve a deep political crisis.

Johannes Hahn spoke Tuesday after talks with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, leftist opposition head Zoran Zaev and two ethnic Albanian party leaders. The last elections were held in April last year, when Gruevski won a third four-year term. The elections will be held two years ahead of time.

The crisis in Macedonia, one of the worst since it gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, stems from a massive wiretap scandal that purportedly reveals corruption at the highest levels of government. The situation was exacerbated by a shootout between police and ethnic Albanian gunmen last month that left 18 dead.