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Conservatives seal grip on power in Macedonia

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Conservatives seal grip on power in Macedonia

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Conservatives in Macedonia are revelling in their election success following a landslide victory in yesterday’s presidential run-off.

High on President-elect Gjorge Ivanov’s agenda will be resolving a dispute over the country’s official name: “We know who we are. We know our own identity, the problem has been those who are denying our identity,” he said. “Talks under UN supervision are based on international standards which are the right to self-determination, and on that there is no compromise.” The name Macedonia is also shared by a northern region of Greece. With Nikola Gruevski as prime minister, the presidential victory consolidates the conservatives’ grip on power. For Macedonian political analyst Biljana Vankovska, that is a source of concern: “There is a feeling of relief, but also a fear that such a concentration of power within one party from the municipality level up to the presidential level brings lots of risks for a young democracy,” he said. Despite fears of violence, voting passed peacefully, boosting the country’s ambitions to join the EU and Nato.