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North Macedonia: Social Democrats score narrow election win

The leader of the ruling SDSM party Zoran Zaev wearing a face mask celebrates his victory at the North Macedonia general election, in Skopje, early Tu...
The leader of the ruling SDSM party Zoran Zaev, centre, speaks to supporters and party members after his victory at the North Macedonia general electi...
The leader of the ruling SDSM party Zoran Zaev speaks after his victory at the North Macedonia general election, in Skopje, early Tuesday, July 16, 20...
The leader of the ruling SDSM party Zoran Zaev, center right, wearing a mask as he is pose for a selfie after his victory at the North Macedonia gener...

The leader of the ruling SDSM party Zoran Zaev wearing a face mask celebrates his victory at the North Macedonia general election, in Skopje, early Tu...

The leader of the ruling SDSM party Zoran Zaev, centre, speaks to supporters and party members after his victory at the North Macedonia general electi...

The leader of the ruling SDSM party Zoran Zaev speaks after his victory at the North Macedonia general election, in Skopje, early Tuesday, July 16, 20...

The leader of the ruling SDSM party Zoran Zaev, center right, wearing a mask as he is pose for a selfie after his victory at the North Macedonia gener...

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — A pro-Western party in North Macedonia is poised to try to form a coalition government following a narrow election victory.

The Social Democrats led by former prime minister Zoran Zaev declared victory Thursday after receiving 36% of the vote with 94% of ballots counted, according to official results.

But main conservative rivals VMRO-DPMNE were less than two percentage points behind and insisted they could ultimately prevail in coalition negotiations and form a government.

The election involved two days of advance voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state electoral commission suffered a website outage after polls closed in what officials described as suspected hacking attack.

Zaev, 45, led the country’s effort to end a decades-long name dispute with neighbor Greece, clearing the way for the former Yugoslav republic to join NATO earlier this year.

Coalition talks will involve parties representing the country’s ethnic Albanian minority which makes up nearly a quarter of the country’s 2.1 million population.

Surrounded by party officials wearing protective masks, Zaev told supporters at a post-election gathering: “You are winners, be proud. Progress has won.” He promised to continue the country’s push to join the European Union.

International observers are expected to announce the preliminary findings of their monitoring mission in North Macedonia later Thursday.


Updated : 2021-01-22 05:01 GMT+08:00