: BBC: Macedonia president halts wiretapping inquiry

11:18 Apr. 13, 2016

BBC: Macedonia president halts wiretapping inquiry

President Gjorge Ivanov of Macedonia addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 26, 2014 (AP photo)

Crowed of several hundred people gathers outside the prosecutor's office

Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov has issued a pardon to all politicians embroiled in a big corruption scandal that sparked a major political crisis. 

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He also cancelled an investigation into claims of abuse of power revealed by covert recordings, saying he wanted to "put an end to the agony" ahead of early elections in June.

But his move was condemned both by the opposition and by EU officials.

Macedonia has been in turmoil since the recordings were released in 2015.

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In a televised address on Tuesday (April 12), President Ivanov said he acted to "defend national interests".

"I've decided to put an end to the agony and, metaphorically speaking, to cut a knot,'' Gjorge Ivanov said, without referring to any politicians by name.

Opposition leader Zoran Zaev said the move was illegal, urging protesters to gather in the capital Skopje. A crowd of several hundred people later gathered outside the prosecutor's office.

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Meanwhile, EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said: "Today's actions of President Ivanov are not in line with my understanding of rule of law.

Mr Hahn added that the move put Macedonia's EU membership ambitions at risk.

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