SKOPJE (Reuters) - Lawmakers in Macedonia voted to dissolve parliament on Wednesday, clearing the way for a snap election expected in April after the multi-ethnic ruling coalition failed to agree on a candidate for president.
Parliamentary elections had been due next year.
The speaker of parliament must now set a date for an early poll, which local media said would likely coincide with the second round of a presidential election. The first round of the presidential vote is scheduled for April 13.
"Today we allowed the people to check the legitimacy of all parties on the political scene," said Silvana Boneva, a deputy of the center-right VMRO-DPMNE party, a senior partner in the ruling coalition.
The deadlock within Macedonia's multi-ethnic coalition started after ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), a junior ruling party, was angered by VMRO-DPMNE's decision to nominate incumbent Gjorge Ivanov as its presidential candidate.
DUI argued Ivanov, who would run for a second term, was not a "consensual" candidate acceptable to both Albanians and Macedonians, who are ethnic Slavs.
Ethnic Albanians represent a third of Macedonia's 2 million population, and relations with Macedonians have been tense since 2001, when an ethnic conflict almost plunged the country into civil war.
(Reporting by Kole Casule; Writing by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Jon Boyle)