Post-election partying on the streets of Skopje has been overshadowed by fears that the violence which marred the poll could perpetuate divisions in the tiny Balkan nation of Macedonia.
Riding on a wave of anti-Greek sentiment, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s conservatives will have the healthiest majority in parliament in more than a decade.
Speaking to a crowd of supporters, he said he was sorry for the violence, adding that he hoped the whole of Macedonia would be allowed to have a fair and democratic vote. “Our country deserves to go forward, we expect progress, we want to join the EU and NATO, have a better economy and a better quality of life.”
One man was killed and nine other people were wounded in violence which centered mainly on the ethnic Albanian town of Aracinovo, where voting was halted. A fresh ballot is scheduled in two weeks’ time.
Gruevski now faces the tough task of unifying a deeply divided country, whose two main ethnic Albanian political parties remain locked in bitter rivalry.