Macedonia’s Ruling Party Wins Elections

Posted June 6th, 2011 at 1:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Macedonia's Prime Minister Nicola Gruevski has won the country's general elections, but will have to form a coalition to govern.

In final results announced Monday, Mr. Gruevski's conservatives won 39 percent of the vote — not enough to govern alone. The main rival Social Democrats, led by former prime minister and president Branko Crvenkovski, got 32.7 percent.

Mr. Gruevski called the elections a year early, after opposition parties walked out of parliament in January to protest the jailing of a popular TV channel boss for alleged fraud. The opposition claimed the crackdown on the TV station was politically motivated.

The main task of the new government will be to revive the economy, fight 32-percent unemployment, and speed up the Balkan nation's bid to join the European Union and NATO.

Macedonia became an EU candidate state in 2005, but so far it has failed to gain membership because of Greek objections to the former Yugoslav republic's name.

Athens rejects the name Macedonia because it says the term implies territorial ambitions towards Greece's northern province of Macedonia — a charge Skopje denies.