Macedonia's nationalists win election: official results

# 13 December 2016 04:30 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Veteran leader Nikola Gruevski's nationalist VMRO-DPMNE won 51 out of 120 seats in Macedonia's parliament in a snap poll on Sunday that is expected to end a two-year long crisis that brought his government down, APA reports quoting Reuters.

The nationalists are now in a good position to form a government with their old partner, the Albanian DUI despite their losses. Overall, Albanian ethnic minority parties lost out to the social democrats, suggesting an easing of ethnic strains.

Preliminary results issued by the State Election Commission showed opposition Social Democrats had won 49 seats in the election, brought about by Gruevski's resignation over a wiretapping scandal.

Albanian voters in Macedonia shifted toward the Social Democrats in significant numbers for the first time since a 2001 interethnic conflict.

The provisional result suggested ethnic factors were playing a lesser role in politics, reducing the dangers of nationalist frictions that have beset Macedonia in the past.

Albanians make up about a third of the 2.1 million population of the landlocked former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, and have traditionally voted for ethnic Albanian parties, one of whom then becomes the junior party in a coalition government.

This time, the Albanian DUI party, which formed the last coalition government with Gruevski won 10 seats in parliament - a half of what it had in last election. A new, anti-establishment Albanian party, Besa, picked up 5 seats, while the Democratic Party of Albanians got 2 seats, while Alliance for Albanians recorded 3 seats.

"With anger, I say the Albanians lost their mandate," DUI leader Ali Ahmeti said after the vote on Sunday.