Macedonia’s prime minister has been returned to office, but in an election which was marred by violence. Nikola Gruevski gambled on a snap election and has won a stronger mandate to, among other things, face down Greece over the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
But it is feared an election shooting, and reports of political intimidation, may compromise the country’s NATO and EU ambitions.
Gruevski predicted a majority in parliament for his conservative VMRO-DPMNE party. He said that in some parts the vote was fair and democratic, but admitted that in others “there were irregularities”.
Those ‘irregularities’ in the Albanian dominated areas left one man dead and others wounded after gunmen stormed a voting station. The prime minister said there might have to be another vote in some districts.
The two main Albanian parties in Macedonia both have links to armed groups. One was in government with Gruevski last time around. The jostling for influence during the election reportedly saw ballot boxes stolen and officials taken hostage.
The EU is likely to take a dim view of that.