Monday, December 12, 2016

FYROM's ruling party wins election, West still silent

The ruling VMRO-DPMNE led by long-time Prime Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski has won the most votes in early elections held on Sunday.
Source: B92
Nikola Gruevski (Tanjug)
Nikola Gruevski (Tanjug)
Gruevski's party received 38.06 percent of the cast ballots, while opposition leader Zoran Zaev and his coalition around the SDSM won 36,69 percent.
The difference between the parties led by two fierce rivals is only about 15,000 votes, while the results from the remaining polling stations should not significantly change the outcome.

The State Election Commission has so far processed 99.72 percent of the polling stations, with only the diaspora votes remaining to be included in the result.

Official projections of the composition of the next parliament, which has 120 seats, are still awaited - but the rather sleepy Macedonian media this morning are reporting what kind of Sobranje (parliament) will try to pull the country out of a deep political crisis.

According to projections based on current results, the VMRO-DPMNE should have 51 seats, the SDSM 49, the Albanian party DPA - likely the kingmaker in post-election negotiations - should have 10 seats, while other parties representing ethnic Albanians - Besa, the Alliance of Albanians, and the DPA - should have five, three, and two mandates, respectively.

There were hints during the election night that the crisis could last, as both Gruevski and Zaev declared victory, with the opposition even celebrating in front of the Macedonian government along with the message that "Gruevski's regime fell by one mandate (parliament seat)."

According to available data, it appears their forecasts have not been accurate, although the opposition did claim victory in the central city municipalities in Skopje.

However, Electoral Unit 1, that includes Skopje, is the only one that went to the SDSM. All other units, with the exception of Unit 6 in the west - which as expected went to ethnic Albanian parties - has been won by Gruevski.

"This is the tenth election victory for our party, the tenth time in a row that people have supported our program, vision and team, as well as the way in which we want to continue to work," said Gruevski.

This very tight election race in Macedonia went peacefully, without major incidents, and with a historic high turnout - just short of 67 percent.

Interestingly, the reactions to these highly important elections, as carried by Macedonian media, have been relatively lukewarm this morning. So far EU officials, who contributed to the decision to call the snap elections and who said they would follow them closely, also remain silent.

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