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Macedonia annuls results at 186 polling stations after violence-marred election

Macedonia annuls results at 186 polling stations after violence-marred election

The State Election Commission announced Saturday it had decided to annul the results from 186 polling stations after detected fraud or other irregularities in the violence-marred parliamentary election a week ago.
Voting in 186 polling stations was annulled on several grounds, including ballot stuffing and voter intimidation and violence, commission spokesman Zoran Tanevski said.
The commission has reviewed 56 complaints from political parties on irregularities involving about 300 polling stations out of a total of 2,976.
Political parties and coalitions can appeal the commission's ruling to the Supreme Court within 48 hours of its announcement. The court must rule on the appeal within another 48 hours.
If the high court upholds the commission ruling, the rerun elections will be held on June 15 at all 186 polling stations.
Gunbattles and reports of ballot fraud in ethnic Albanian areas prompted authorities to suspend voting in 22 polling stations on Sunday. One person was killed and eight were wounded in the fighting, which brought international condemnation at a time when Macedonia is trying to prove its credentials for European Union and NATO membership.
About 50 people had been detained over the last three days in connection with violence and irregularities. A court ordered at least 30 of them to be held for 30 days _ including one policeman.
Next weekend's reruns could determine which of the two main _ and bitterly opposed _ ethnic Albanian parties will be invited into a governing coalition: DUI, run by former rebel leader Ali Ahmeti, or the Democratic Party of Albanians, run by Menduh Thaci.
Although Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, 37, won by a landslide 48.2 percent, enough to give him a majority in the 120 seat parliament, it is traditional to invite one of the Albanian minority's parties to join the government.
Ethnic Albanians make up about a quarter of Macedonia's population. A six-month ethnic Albanian insurgency in 2001 ended after a Western-brokered peace plan.
According to the results so far, the DPA, which is part of the outgoing governing coalition, won 10.52 percent, or 105,000 votes, compared with DUI's 11.13 percent, or 111,000 votes.
Both parties project that with these figures, they would each win 13 seats in the 120-seat parliament. But the much smaller Party for Democratic Prosperity, the oldest ethnic Albanian party, appears to have won one seat in parliament and has announced it will join DPA, giving Thaci a slight edge.


Updated : 2021-04-15 07:29 GMT+08:00