Macedonian government rejects opposition call for early elections in March

Macedonia's conservative government has rejected an opposition demand for early national elections amid ongoing fallout from a rowdy budget debate.

The main opposition Social Democrats earlier Wednesday called for Parliamentary elections to be held together with local elections in March — about two years ahead of schedule.

The opposition has boycotted Parliament since the Christmas Eve budget debate, which was marred by clashes between rival lawmakers and supporters inside and outside the building.

The Social Democrats are angry because their lawmakers — together with journalists — were expelled from the debate. Three lawmakers and 11 policemen were injured in the clashes.

The budget was approved, but opposition parties say the government is wasting money on grandiose monuments, expensive cars and furniture for officials.