Tue, Apr 29, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Macedonia conservative party secures third term

Reuters, SKOPJE

Macedonia’s conservative ruling party has secured a third term in office, winning both parliamentary and presidential elections on Sunday, based on preliminary results of the ballot that the opposition said it would not recognize.

With more than 63 percent of the votes counted, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization — Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity was leading with 43 percent, compared with 24 percent for the main opposition party, the center-left Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), the state electoral commission said.

Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov was also leading the SDSM-backed challenger in the presidential election, the commission said.

“This is a big, huge and strong victory. The people have clearly expressed their will,” Gruevski — who has ruled the former Yugoslav republic since 2006 in coalition with the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) party — told a cheering crowd at his party’s headquarters in Skopje early yesterday.

The DUI had captured 14 percent, setting the coalition on course for a comfortable majority in the new parliament.

However, SDSM leader Zoran Zaev accused Gruevski and his party of “abusing the entire state system,” saying there were “threats and blackmails and massive buying of voters” in the elections.

“A few minutes after the polls closed, I’m here to say that SDSM and our opposition coalition will not recognize the election process, neither the presidential nor the parliamentary,” the SDSM leader said in Skopje.

Gruevski, 43, and his party dismissed the opposition allegations as an attempt to manipulate public opinion.

“I’m sorry that besides our clear victory, the leader of the opposition for his personal interest has decided to ignore the will of the people,” Gruevski said.

“I hope he’ll sleep on it and will decide to change the decision,” he added.

Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe were to present their findings later yesterday, after the state electoral commission publishes its results.

It was not immediately clear what concrete steps the opposition would take once the results are officially confirmed.

The SDSM said it was “keeping all options open and would decide in the next few days.”

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