Macedonia’s Gruevski Leads as Opposition Says Vote Unfair

Macedonia’s ruling VMRO-DPMNE party of Premier Nikola Gruevski won the most seats in parliament in April 27 general elections, while opposition groups contested the results and called for a new vote.

VMRO-DPMNE will have 61 seats in the 123-member parliament, the state Election Commission said on its website today after counting about 100 percent of the ballots. Its presidential candidate, Gjorge Ivanov, was re-elected for another five-year term, with 55.25 percent of the vote cast in the re-run on April 27. The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia, the biggest opposition party, which ranked second with 34 seats, doesn’t recognize both votes.

“We demand that an interim government be formed urgently to be able to conduct normal and fair presidential and parliamentary elections,” Zoran Zaev, the Social Democrats’ leader, said in a video recording posted on the party’s website today. The authorities “conducted yet another unfair, undemocratic and uncivilized elections.”

Gruevski, who has led several governments since 2006, oversaw economic growth of 3.1 percent last year following a 0.4 percent contraction in 2012 in the poorest former Yugoslav republic. Macedonia’s efforts to join the European Union have been blocked by neighboring Greece that accuses the country of usurping the name of its northern province.

OSCE Report

The Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which had 300 monitors for the elections in Macedonia, said “the ruling party and its presidential candidate dominated the campaign.”

“The clear support they received from the government during the campaign did not respect the separation of party and the state,” the OSCE said in a report today. “The overall assessment of polling station openings, voting, and the counting and tabulation of votes was positive.”

The election was held a year before schedule as VMRO-DPMNE and its coalition partner, the Democratic Union for Integration, which represents Macedonia’s ethnic Albanian community, failed to agree on a joint presidential candidate. Ethnic Albanians account for a quarter of the Balkan country’s population of 2 million.

The vote was “free, fair and democratic” and the nation is “in good hands,” Gruevski said, according to state TV broadcaster MRT.

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