Conservatives protest in Macedonia, demand early election

Tens of thousands of conservative opposition supporters are protesting outside Macedonia's main government building in the capital of Skopje to demand an early election.

The VMRO-DPMNE party, which ruled from 2006 to 2017, was holding a large anti-government demonstration Saturday against the left-wing government's one-year rule and wants an early election held in March or April next year.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, 43, took power in May 2017 after 11 years of conservative rule amid a deep political crisis sparked by a wiretapping scandal in 2015.

The opposition claims the government is incompetent, has devastated the economy, lowered wages and pensions and allowed corruption to flourish. It also claims the government has damaged national interests by negotiating with Greece over a possible new name for the country.