After the partying, the hard bargaining begins. The conservatives in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia face a period of coalition building after winning the parliamentary election but failing to clinch a majority. Nikola Gruevski, the leader of the VMRO-DPMNE will be looking to strike a deal with the main ethnic Albanian party and smaller groups. Macedonia is plagued by poverty, and the lack of progress in reducing it was a major factor in the defeat of the Social Democrats.
Their leader, Vlado Buckovski, was quick to acknowledge the result. The European Union was positive about the way the poll was conducted. A spokesman said: “The election has taken place without major incident. The population has played the game fully. This is a very important fact for us.” Gruevski has pledged to carry out free market reforms which he believes will boost growth and bring Macedonia closer to EU membership. But it is likely to be a tough balancing act between liberalisation and keeping the poorest voters on board.